Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Banning Nuts Plans or....

Do we need nuts on planes? Should we ban them? Different groups within the allergy community disagree on this issue.

ANAPHYLAXIS AND FOOD ALLERGY ASSOCIATION OF MINNESOTA (AFAA) has 20 recommendations that their board of directors initially created in dialogue with Northwest/Delta airlines when they began to serve peanut snacks. While they wait for the U.S. DOT to review comments, they are arranging meetings with MN Congressional Representatives and Senators to keep the issue on their radar in advance of any opportunity to influence policy by regulation or legislation.

Elizabeth Goldenberg of Onespot Allergy started a petition For banning nuts, that people can still sign Banning Peanuts From Airlines (click to sign petition) it is an urgent call to action to support the proposed ban of peanuts on airlines.


The Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAA) created a survey regarding flying with food allergies: more than 2,034 people took the survey (whose results are also being sent to you electronically). Some notable statistics:

More than 43% were reluctant to “fly on a flight that serves or sells peanut snacks”
More than 39% refused to “fly on a flight that serves or sells peanut snacks”
More than 10% cancelled flights “because of peanut or treenut snacks on board airplanes”

More seriously, 234 respondents reported allergic reactions from exposure on an airplane. The cause of the reactions and allergens are described in the survey results.

Our organization understands that it is impossible for an airline to:
• guarantee a peanut-free flight;
• prevent passengers from bringing peanuts on board the aircraft; or
• guarantee that remnants of peanuts, peanut dust, and peanut oil will not remain on the aircraft floor, seats, tray tables, or in airline food.

We do believe, though, that airlines can greatly reduce the risk of food allergic reactions by not serving bags of peanuts, and by consistently implementing a 3 row buffer zone around passengers with other food allergies.

To reduce the risk of allergic reactions on aircraft, we would like to request these policy changes from the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration:

Emergency Preparedness

1. autoinjector training for flight crew
2. autoinjectors (brand names: EpiPen, Twinject, Adrenaclick) on aircraft medical carts
Allergen Containment Options
3. upon request, a 3 row buffer zone where allergenic snacks are not served. Allergens specified may be peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, or wheat
4. upon request at time of reservation, peanut-snack free flights**
5. upon request, no peanut-snack sales**
6. peanut-snack free overseas flights**
7. upon request, on-board announcement asking for voluntary passenger compliance
8. designated rows on all aircraft where specified allergens would not be served ("food allergen reduction zone")
9. on-board announcement asking for passenger compliance with food allergen reduction zone
10. the possibility of regularly scheduled peanut-snack free flights

Cleaning Management

11. preboarding so parents/individuals can wipe down seats and trays*
12. through, frequent aircraft cleaning
13. sales or complimentary seat covers, tray covers, and hand wipes

Customer Service

14. posting of carriers’ allergen policies
15. food allergy training for airline staff
16. airline contact person trained to help families arrange appropriate accommodations: airline would remind/recommend to passengers to bring epinephrine and authorization

Public/Passenger Education

17. cross contamination warning label (for 8 major U.S. allergens) on airline food served
18. awareness through various means, such as in-flight magazine articles, about flying or traveling with food allergies (AFAA can provide materials and experts for interviewing)
19. website information providing tips for flying with food allergies (which AFAA and other organizations can provide)
20. active cooperation with medical researchers to determine allergen hazards on aircraft

*per Air Carrier Access Regulations 14 CFR, Part 382.38
**We would also like the airline to consider these accommodations for tree nut allergens

From banning all nuts to accommodation many disagree, there is also a Facebook Group called You Don't Need Nuts to Fly that people can join or comment on.

More travel information also readers may want to read this New York Times Article on the on the cleanliness of airlines.

1 comment:

Jennifer is Always Sick said...

While you can prevent the airline from supplying nuts on airplanes, you can't prevent people from bringing their own nut products on board. That's an unfortunate fact. One would hope that people wouldn't bring them on board, but you just never know.