Legislation Governing Nutrition
The legislation governing nutrition is identified in the Day Nurseries Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.D.2., Regulation 262-General (R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262). Regulation 262, Section 39
Every operator shall ensure that,
- (a) each infant under one year of age that is in attendance in a day nursery operated by the operator or in a location where private-home day care is provided by the operator is fed in accordance with written instructions from a parent of the child;
- (b) where food or drink or both is supplied by a parent of a child in attendance in a day nursery operated by the operator or location where private-home day care is provided by the operator, the container for the food or drink is labeled with the child’s name; and. all food or drink is stored, prepared and served so as to retain maximum nutritive value and prevent contamination. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262, s. 39.
Regulation 262, Section 40
(1) Every operator shall ensure that each child one year of age or over is in attendance in a day nursery operated by the operator or in a location where private-home day care is provided by the operator is provided with,
- (a) subject to section 43, where the child is in attendance at meal time, a meal consisting of at least one serving from milk and milk products, one serving from meat and alternates, one serving from bread and cereals, and two servings from fruits and vegetables within the range set out in Column 2 or 3 of Schedule 1*, except where otherwise approved by a Director in the case of a child five years of age or over; and
- (b) nutritious between-meal snacks consisting of foods that will promote good dental health at times that will not interfere with a child’s appetite for meal time. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262, s. 40 (1).
(2) Where a child referred to in subsection (1) is in attendance for six hours or more, the operator shall ensure that the total food offered to the child over the period of attendance for each food group set out in Column 1 of schedule 2 is within the range set out opposite thereto in Column 2 of schedule 2**. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262, s. 40 (2).
Regulation 262, Section 41
- (1) Every operator of a day nursery shall post planned menus for the current and following week in a conspicuous place in each day nursery operated by the operator with any substitutions noted on the posted menus. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262, s. 41 (1).
- (2) A menu referred to in subsection (1) shall be retained by the operator for thirty days after the last day for which it is applicable. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262, s. 41 (2).
Regulation 262, Section 42
Every operator of a day nursery shall ensure that a list is posted in each cooking and serving area of each day nursery operated by the operator that sets out the names of the children enrolled in the day nursery that have food allergies and their respective allergies. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262, s 42.
Regulation 262, Section 43
Every operator shall ensure that where special dietary and feeding arrangements have been made with the operator with respect to a child enrolled in a day nursery operated by the operator or in a location where private-home day care is provided by the operator that the arrangements are carried out in accordance with the written instructions of a parent of the child. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 262, s. 43.
Important Information for Day Nursery Operators:
What is a Food Allergy?
Allergies involve the immune system. When someone has a food allergy, their immune system thinks a component in a particular food is harmful and this causes a reaction. Once someone has developed a food allergy, an allergic reaction will occur every time they eat this particular food. Allergic reactions can go from mild to severe.
How to tell if a child is having an allergic reaction
Watch for the signs of food allergies. These signs can range from mild to severe. They can appear within minutes and often within two hours after having the food. Examples include:
- Hives, swelling, redness and rash
- Stuffy or runny nose with itchy watery eyes
- Vomiting sometimes combined with diarrhea
Severe signs of food allergies require immediate attention. Examples include:
- Swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat.
- Hives that are spreading.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Difficulty swallowing or hoarse voice.
- Pale or blue colour of the face or lips.
- Faintness, weakness or passing out.
Call 911 right away if signs of a severe allergic reaction occur.
If you are concerned a food is causing an allergic reaction, stop giving the food. You can give other new foods.
The most common food allergens include:
- Tree Nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews)
- Shellfish (e.g., shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels)
- Sesame Seeds
What is a Food Intolerance?
A food intolerance is different from a food allergy. A food intolerance is a negative reaction to a food that does not involve the immune system. Symptoms of food intolerance may include: cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea or vomiting.
Lactose intolerance is an example of a food intolerance. Lactose intolerance is caused by not having lactase in your intestine, which is needed to digest lactose, the natural sugar in milk. As a result, people with lactose intolerance cannot digest lactose properly. They are not allergic to milk or milk products.
- Food must not be served to a child with an allergy if the content of the food is unknown.
- Do not remove an allergic food from a prepared meal and serve the meal. Traces of the allergic food are always present and can cause an allergic reaction. Peanuts and other nuts can often be hidden in a food which makes it very difficult to prevent accidental ingestion, and are the most common cause of serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). See Section J – Emergency Medications. To reduce exposure to a child with a peanut or nut allergy follow these recommendations:
- Do not allow peanuts, nuts, peanut butter or foods containing nuts or that may have come into contact with nuts in menu and snack planning or to be brought into day nursery by children or staff.
- Educate staff on food allergies and ensure they know what to do in case of a child with accidental exposure. This can be taught through a First Aid Course.