Sabrina’s food allergy law in universities — are you nuts?

Photo courtesy Jennifer McNaughton.

Photo courtesy Jennifer McNaughton.

It’s the 10-year anniversary of Sabrina’s Law, a piece of legislation that ensures that all school boards have a consistent action plan in the case of anaphylactic reactions. Its intent is to make classrooms safer for students with severe allergies, but its practicality is still being debated.

Some school boards have acknowledged that it would be misleading to promise a 100 per cent allergen-free environment, but they still do their best to accommodate.

Hypothetically speaking, would the implementation of Sabrina’s Law work on a university campus?

About three to four per cent of adults experience food sensitivities in Canada and with over 38,000 students on campus, it would be extremely onerous to monitor the students who have food allergies.

With that being said, we’re all adults here and there is no need for a statute like Sabrina’s Law to be introduced at Ryerson.

If you see someone eating peanuts and you’re allergic, simply let them know. If you’re worried about sitting at a desk and coming into contact with an allergen that’ll cause a reaction, walk with disinfectant wipes.

For people as stubborn as me, I’ll be reluctant to change my eating habits for a select few. I eat often and do so at my workstation — a workstation that another student may use that same day, or the next, or the next. I don’t sanitize the computer screen, keyboard or mouse after I’m done eating either because really, who has time for that?

Realistically, a lot of people think and act as I do. There’s no way micromanaging students is a plausible way to end this food fight. We’re all adults — you should be able to take care of yourself.  Nobody’s going to sanitize the real world for you. The TTC handrail is probably teeming with allergens.

Indeed, it’s not fair for students to suffer from severe reactions to allergens while trying to get an education, so allow me to offer a suggestion (one that I may even be open to) — install hand-sanitizing stations in each classroom. Sure, they may be costly at first, but it’s worth the effort since there’s no control over my lunchbox.

This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Sept. 27, 2016.

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