Food Safety and Allergy Management
Food Health and Safety Principles:
In Bright Horizons nurseries, the safety and welfare of children is our highest priority at all times.
We take the greatest care to ensure that children’s dietary needs are met. We make sure that all staff involved in the preparation and serving of food are well informed about children’s allergies, intolerances and special diets (including vegetarian and cultural), as well as their nutritional and developmental needs.
When a child joins the nursery, we record their individual dietary needs, ensuring that special diets are carefully planned for and safe procedures are followed. Regular reviews of dietary information between parents and the nursery, including supporting medical records where appropriate, ensure that changing needs continue to be met.
Our Food Safety Procedures
Processes, such as coloured plates and place cards (with individual children’s dietary needs recorded), help children and adults to identify those with special dietary needs at mealtimes.
Food for specific diets, including vegetarian and religious preferences, are clearly labelled by the nursery chef before coming into the room to be served. All children are well supported and closely supervised by a key person at mealtimes. They are encouraged to feed themselves where appropriate, to develop new skills, and engage in discussions about ‘healthy food’ so that they learn good habits for the future.
A Key Person closely supervises children with allergies and intolerances, to help them to learn about their ‘individual diet’ from an early age. Conversations at mealtimes contribute to children’s understanding of their dietary needs. Meaningful discussion and first-hand experience help them to learn about safe practices, such as why they shouldn’t eat someone else’s food or drink.
Weaning menus with appropriate textured foods are provided according to your child’s age and phase of development. In particular, for babies and younger children, and for those children with special educational needs and/or disabilities who are unable to manage solid food, we work with parents to develop weaning programmes that suit their child’s needs.
Allergens in Menus
Our 15-day menu cycle is meticulously planned to eliminate many common allergens, such as nuts, sesame, kiwi and shellfish, and suitable alternatives are provided at every mealtime for children who are allergic or intolerant of the meal on offer.
Our menus are planned to offer children low salt (sodium) and low sugar, fully nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day, according to their individual dietary needs and national guidelines. We encourage children to try new foods and to eat a balanced diet. However, where children refuse to eat the meal provided or are still in the process of learning to try new things, we do offer an alternative, such as a sandwich. This will be provided if the child has not eaten a sizable portion of the meal, despite encouragement, to ensure that they are not hungry and are adequately fed.
We offer milk alternatives and lactose free milk to children with allergies, and we use dairy free spreads in sandwiches and in cooking processes. Food for most religious dietary needs is available and is sourced from certified suppliers (please check with individual nursery for specific details).
Surveys of staff, parents’ and children’s views on our menus, and requests for new dishes, are used to inform our regular menu reviews.