DOT Needs Proof to Ban Peanuts on Flights

Posted Jun 30th 2010 04:25 PMUpdated Jun 30th 2010 04:40 PM


There's more in the great debate on whether or not peanuts should be banned on flights.

The Transportation Department has been soliciting public comment on whether peanuts should be banned in deference to those with severe allergies.

But now, according to USA Today, the department, in a clarification, says it would need to receive a scientific study showing real harm before implementing any ban.

The reason the study is needed has to do with a funding provision from a decade ago that says no airline can be made to stop serving peanuts until 90 days after Congress and the transportation secretary receive such scientific information, the newspaper says.

The department has not commissioned such a study. Public comment on a possible ban is being accepted until Aug. 9.

The idea of a peanut ban is among a number of air traveler consumer protections proposed by the department in early June.

Also being looked at is creation of a special peanut-free zone or prohibiting peanuts only when a passenger with an allergy requests it in advance.

The DOT is also seeking comment on how peanuts should be handled when brought on flights by the public.

Peanut allegry sufferers have pushed for restrictions, some saying they fear flying because they might have an allergic reaction in the middle of a flight. Some 1.8 million Americans have peanut allergies, and they can be life-threatening.

Several airlines have quit serving peanuts as a snack; Delta, the world's largest airline, is among those that still do.

The DOT said it was looking for feedback from allergy sufferers, medical experts, the food industry and others concerned with peanut restrictions.

Photo, EuroMagic, flickr
Filed Under: News

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This is truly a vexed issue and anyone that offers a categorical answer is demonstrating their own ignorance. The margins are not the problem. If a person has a horrific allergic reaction to wool, it is hardly a reasonable policy that no passengers should be permitted to wear or bring wool products aboard. But things like peanuts, perfume fragrances, et al, are in the grey area that reasonably balances the equities of individuals with unusual susceptibilities and the larger group that doesn't. The American Disabilities Act places a burden on the general population to accomodate individual with some individual disabilities, not every individual shortfall constitutes a disability as defined by the Act. The "peanut" issue can only be resolved by a balancing act that considers how serious the threat is to the sensitized individual, whether there are reasonable transportation alternatives, how adversely impacted the other passengers are by the constraints used in protecting an individual. A myriad of products have peanut butter in them, some in trace amounts. Should all food be banned from a flight as a consequence? On the other hand, if the presence of peanuts is life threatening, would the substitution of peanuts with potato chips et al be an unreasonable burden on the bulk of the passengers? Should there be a peanut free section in the plane or perhaps a couple of peanut free flights a day to major destinations?

It ain't simple.

July 12 2010 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

7.11.2010 @ 7:58PM by Paul Viggiano
No person anywhere is allergic in a primary manner to peanuts on a whole. This hype is not only false but exquisitely annoying.


I'll tell you what's exquisitely annoying. What's exquisitely annoying are ignorant flippant people like you who aren't mature enough to address the valid pros and cons of what is a serious issue. The obvious fact is that you know zilch about allergies, primary or otherwise. Stop wasting our time.

July 12 2010 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If your peanut allergies are bad enough that someone opening a bag of peanuts a few rows away will send you into anaphylactic shock, you should be carrying an EpiPen at all times! The rest of the world shouldn't have to go without just because a few people have allergies. BTW, I say this as a person who has terrible hayfever and other outdoor allergies... I'm not going to ask the world to close up because I stop taking medicine. If you have to live with a condition, just learn to live with it and be prepared.

July 12 2010 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul Viggiano

Allergies are simply an over reaction to stimulus which can manifest in a number of ways, and usually are based with compromise of the immune system due to physical, mental, nutritional, emotional and fractures. No person is primarily allergic to peanuts. This fashionable myth is not only false but uniquely annoying. If you think you may be allergic to peanuts then please go feast on them with your mother and school teachers that support your need for attention and let natural selection finally have it's way with you.

July 10 2010 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do you really want the government to tell us when, where, how and why to eat peanuts. If you have this allergy learn to cope with it and keep the government out of it.

July 09 2010 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Emily's comment

Ignorance really is the most dangerous thing. Peanut allergies are not, like some other allergies, something one can "cope with". Reactions can occur when one is in the same confined space with an opened bag of peanuts. Anaphylactic reactions can go as far as not being able to breathe, which is the most dangerous stage. This allergy is not controlled by, for example, cutting peanuts from your diet. When there are so many other snacks to provide, why take the chance?

July 09 2010 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul Viggiano

Allergies are simply an "over reaction" to stimulus we encounter everyday whether it be a food item, drink, airborne substance or even auditory and visual stimuli. This over reaction is usually a result of a compromise in the immune system due to some other factors which can span from physical, organic, emotional, mental and other issues...
No person anywhere is allergic in a primary manner to peanuts on a whole. This hype is not only false but exquisitely annoying. Eat a peanut, if you go into shock, I say let natural selection have it's way and leave the rest of us alone

July 10 2010 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply