Welsh school bans chocolate due to pupil's allergy

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Staff and children have been barred from eating chocolate at a primary school in south Wales.

The bold decision, which has been welcomed by some and criticised by others, was made at Alltwen Primary School in Pontardawe, Neath Port Talbot, after it was revealed that one of the pupils could become "very ill" due to an unusual allergic reaction.

Headteacher Owain Hyett insisted the drastic action was justified, and explained his decision in a letter sent home to parents.

It said: "Unfortunately, one of our pupils has been diagnosed with a chocolate intolerance and can become very ill if in contact with chocolate.

"Sadly the pupil is also highly sensitive to chocolate if it is airborne or being eaten by another pupil.

"To maintain the safety of this pupil our school will be adopting a no-chocolate policy for all pupils and staff.

"All areas of the school will be chocolate-free including the staff room and office."

"The catering department are working with the school to amend our dinner menu by replacing any chocolate products.

"We also ask that you ensure that there are no traces of chocolate in our pupils' packed lunches or school bags."

Symptoms of a chocolate allergy can cause shortness of breath, stomach ache and nausea.

The move has divided opinion among parents at the school - with some saying they supported it while others said a total ban was excessive and unenforceable.

One mum, who did not wish to be named, said: "There must be other ways of keeping this child safe than banning chocolate across the whole school.

"How are they going to police it anyway? Are they going to go through every child's lunchboxes?"

According to the website Newhealthguide.org true chocolate allergies are extremely rare.

In explanation, the site said: "Most of the time when someone has an allergic reaction to chocolate, it is actually a reaction to the additives that are put with the chocolate when it is processed.

"When chocolate is manufactured, it can have up to 300 ingredients added if not more."