Ethical principles as a guide in implementing policies for the management of food allergies in schools.
Food allergy in children is a growing public health problem that carries a significant risk of anaphylaxis such that schools and child care facilities have enacted emergency preparedness policies for anaphylaxis and methods to prevent the inadvertent consumption of allergens. However, studies indicate that many facilities are poorly prepared to handle the advent of anaphylaxis and policies for the prevention of allergen exposure are missing essential components. Furthermore, certain policies are inappropriate because they are blatantly discriminatory. This article aims to provide further guidance for school health officials involved in creating food allergy policies. By structuring policies around ethical principles of confidentiality and anonymity, fairness, avoiding stigmatization, and empowerment, policy makers gain another method to support better policy making. The main ethical principles discussed are adapted from key values in the bioethics and public health ethics literatures and will be framed within the specific context of food allergy policies for schools.DOI: 10.1177/1059840510364844