Melbourne school bans watermelon, bananas and strawberries from lunch boxes

Ban on bananas at a Melbourne school.
Ban on bananas at a Melbourne school.  Photo: Getty Images

Banning nuts from lunch boxes is common practice these days.

But a Melbourne school has taken things further, asking parents to stop packing watermelon, bananas and strawberries for their children's school lunch.

Point Cook College, south-west of Melbourne has revised their lunch box guidelines due to an increase in food allergies.

Principal Frank Vetere said according to the Herald Sun, "There seems to be a growing number of students with allergies, and we try to manage it the best we can with proactive measures."

"We have 20 students with allergies and they are all different.

"With every class that has a child with an allergy, we send out a letter to the families."

The full list includes: bananas, watermelon, strawberries, soy, wheat, eggs, dairy and nuts, reported the Herald Sun.

According to the Mayo Clinic, hayfever symptoms can also be triggered from fresh fruits and vegetables.

"In some people, pollen-food allergy syndrome — sometimes called oral allergy syndrome — can cause swelling of the throat or even anaphylaxis," the website says.

"Proteins in fruits and vegetables cause the reaction because they're similar to those allergy-causing proteins found in certain pollens."

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While Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Professor Katie Allen said fruit allergies were not common, a 2009 ABC News article says doctors in Australia are finding more people with reactions to fruit, especially bananas.

But Dr Graham Solley said, according to the article, it was a "minor problem and I think it should be put in that context."

Australian Primary Principals Association executive officer Michael Nuttall told the Daily Mail, "Schools obviously weigh up managing risk against the practicalities... You have to be realistic about it."

"Parents have to be responsible for their own children and what they take to school, [and] don't encourage sharing food," he added.

"Banning is not the best option but schools have to make their own decisions around their communities.

"Sometimes principals may have to make a decision in one school that might not be made in another."