Last week, I had a conversation with one of the nutritionists at Public Health - the people responsible for approving daycare menus. She informed me that there is no such mandate that dictates milk must be present in the menu unless it's for children under 2 whereby that is indeed the case. However, for children over 2 (i.e. toddlers and preschoolers) there should be no reason why the daycare cannot replace milk/dairy items with things that contain the same nutritional values. She also said that they work with some daycares to help adjust the menu to accommodate lack of dairy and that it has been done successfully before.
It's baffling as to why daycares are reluctant to implement something that they suggested in the first place. I do not ask daycares to ban milk, eggs, or otherwise, but there have been daycares that said they would feel more comfortable if they banned dairy. These are daycares that already eliminated nuts/peanuts, as well as eggs, from their menu. Many of the daycares I've visited have banned eggs from the entire centre for the sake of one child, yet when it comes to milk, they will not do the same for my child. I am confused as to why daycares would not simply replace dairy with soy derivatives that are already fortified with all the nutrients available in dairy products.
In the past year, more than one daycare has mentioned that they think it's "unfair for the rest of the kids" to ban milk from the menu. Yet, they do not think it's unfair to ban eggs, peanuts, or sesame for the sake of one child. What's really unfair is that my daughter's life is put in danger because someone else would be happier consuming what's poison to her. My little girl is not allergic to sesame or wheat, but I had no problem with daycares that eliminated both of those foods. It's perfectly acceptable for her not to eat wheat or sesame if it means another child will be safe. She can eat those items at home. It's a small price to pay to make sure that children are safe.
Is my child less worthy than those kids? I don't ask these daycares to ban any food items because I prefer education about cross contamination over banning, but if those daycares are the ones pushing to eliminate the item, what right do they have to decide that my daughter's safety is worth less than the safety of other kids? This, in and of itself is discrimination. It's simple; I believe any allergic child's safety is worth more than the convenience of eating an allergen. With that in mind, I believe any daycare that thinks otherwise has no business being in the child care industry.