WowButter® and Peanut Butter Substitutes Banned From Schools

WowButter peanut butter substitute banned in York Region Schools

This is a rant. Hopefully a polite one. And hopefully one with which you can relate. Generally I keep such opinions to myself but I am willing to throw myself under the proverbial bus for this one.

Earlier I came across this article in thestar.com that states that peanut butter substitute spreads, such as WowButter® are no longer allowed in York Region classrooms.

Alrighty then.

Wait. What? It’s not enough we’ve banned peanut butter but now substitutes are forbidden??

WowButter® was among the first of these options to pop up on grocery store shelves and my kids have been enjoying it for the last couple of years in their school lunches. It is a great option, whether in a tortilla rolled around a banana, or with jam between two slices of bread and I always send a copy of the label when I pack it for a meal.

Our schools haven’t directly notified us of any such ban but I imagine it is forthcoming and certainly, we will comply, just as we have with respect to peanut butter.  But isn’t this taking it a bit too far? What’s next? No jam because it may have been beside the substitute-peanut-butter container in the cupboard? Let’s face it, if it comes from home, you have no idea which foods have come into contact with each other.

And what of other allergies? What if a kid comes to school with pet hair all over his sweater? My son is allergic to cats. Not deathly allergic, but enough that we finally had to find our cat a new home after being with us for 12 years. Does that mean that the other child has to be moved to another classroom. Or that he has to get rid of his pet?

Let me be clear. I am not diminishing the severity of a nut allergy. But this is no longer about that issue. This is taking it a step further and banning a look-alike.

While none of my children have a very severe food allergy or sensitivity, I do know children who do and I sympathize with them AND their parents. I really do. However, it has been my experience that those children, by virtue of being trained by their parents for years, know to ask questions about food with which they may come into contact and to avoid it. Besides, is there a worry that kids are going to touch or eat someone else’s sandwich?

By now the point has been driven home that peanut butter is not allowed in schools. We SO get that. So is the concern then that with the appearance of these new alternatives someone will try to sneak in the real deal? I mean, come on! Not to mention, these peanut butter substitutes are probably the closest thing to peanut butter that peanut-allergic children can enjoy. And now this is being taken away from them, too?

I can understand the pressure on the schools, to some degree, to put measures in place to protect the well-being of their students. However, with so many external sources affecting the health of our children these days, does the onus not fall on the parents to equip their children with the means and the knowledge to make safe choices? Where exactly do we draw the line?

About Erica

Erica writes with humour and heart about family, #fit40s and living life in the carpool lane. Part-time banker by day and Netflix-addicted-cake-decorator by night, Erica's in-between time is spent dreaming up ways to ruin her kids' lives. Obviously.
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10 Comments

  1. I am so with you on this…

  2. This is just crazy! What is their reasoning behind it? Because it looks like peanut butter and you could be lying that you are sending an alternative and it be the real thing? Did you know that there is no peanut free rule in US schools?

    • My point exactly, Lindsay. So now that we have substitutes available, someone will try to sneak in the real deal? And what of the allergic children who finally get to enjoy a PB substitute? Now it’s one less thing they can enjoy at school.

  3. I am with you too and I can bet that my friend, who has a child with a severe peanut allergy, would agree with you as well as her child loves Wow Butter.

  4. Is this thing on? **tap tap** Sounds like a case of ‘PB’MS happenin’ here….hahaha. Jus kiddin sis. Crazy. I haven’t even heard of WOWbutter. Sounds like an easy cop-out and a way to justify the control of allergies via optics…here’s a plan. Put the WOW butter in the middle of the bread and put the beloved JAAAAM around the WOW butter, surrounding it via circumference. No more WOWbutter optics….same delicious taste.

    Then we can put this on Diary of a Domestic Deviant. lol…(that would be me)

  5. My daughter used to love peanut butter, it was one thing i could count on this picky eater wanting, but after attending school for the last two years she is now scared to eat it even though she doesnt have an allergy! You can imagine my excitement when i not only found the wowbutter but that my daughter loved it. I was so proud of myself this morning when i sent her off with a sandwhich clearly marked with a wowbutter identification sticker… I was following the rules and able to do my part to keep other kids safe without having to worry about my daughter not eating enough. Or so I thought until we got home today not only to find a note from her teaching stating that they do not allow the substitue in the school but also that they did not even let her eat it. I am outraged the note said that it was to hard to tell the difference even though it had a sticker on it. What are we as parents supposed to do about this?

    • Hi, Jordan. It’s not easy to navigate these waters, is it? I suppose, and understandably so, some schools just don’t want the risk and liability that comes with allowing a nut-substitute through their doors and ‘the rest of us’ must seem insensitive for balking at this newest ban. And with so little lunch supervision in elementary + classes it’s just easier to ban the offending spread than to have extra eyes on hand to check lunches. I get it to a certain degree even though I don’t agree with it and I just see this having a snowball effect.

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