DOT, Peanut Allergies





Last week, FAAN reported on this through Twitter: @JuliaBradsher RT @FoodAllergy: DOT seeks comments on how airlines can address the needs of passengers with peanut allergies [FAAN's public letter here.]

(Are you not on Twitter yet? There's a supportive food allergy community on there, including many of your favorite bloggers, authors and national food allergy non-profits: come join!)

Then I received an email from Cheri, leader of Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Coalition of NJ (Thanks Cheri!) kindly outlining the proposed regulations.

(The Kansas City Star also reported on this but no New York Times?)

Basically, the Department of Transportation is looking for comments about possibly changing the rules about peanuts on flights. This is your shot. Tell them what you need!


Click on the .pdf icon to the right of "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Original Copy)”. The proposed rule related to peanut allergy can be seen on pp. 51-54 of the document. Instructions for submitting your comment can be seen on page 3 of the document. It's easy to submit your comment by FAX, by regular mail, or via the website. Be sure to include the Docket # (DOT-OST-2010-0140) at the beginning of your comment.

The DOT is seeking comment on several “alternatives to provide greater
access to air travel for individuals with severe peanut allergies:
1. banning the serving of peanuts and all peanut products by both U.S.
and foreign carriers on flights covered by DOT’s disability rule;
2. banning the serving of peanuts and all peanut products on all such
flights where a passenger with a peanut allergy is on board and has
requested a peanut-free flight in advance; or
3. requiring a peanut-free buffer zone in the immediate area of a
passenger with a medically documented severe allergy to peanuts if
passenger has requested a peanut-free flight in advance.”

The DOT is also looking for input on specific questions:
1. … whether it would be preferable to maintain the current practice
of not prescribing carrier practices concerning the serving of
2. … how peanuts and peanut products brought on board aircraft by
passengers should be handled.
3. How likely is it that a passenger with allergies to peanuts will
have severe adverse health reactions by being exposed to the airborne
transmission of peanut particles in an aircraft cabin (as opposed to
ingesting peanuts orally)?
4. Will taking certain specific steps to prepare for a flight (e.g.,
carrying an epinephrine auto-injector in order to immediately and
aggressively treat an anaphylactic reaction) sufficiently protect
individuals with severe peanut allergies?
5. Who should be responsible for ensuring an epinephrine auto-
injector is available on a flight – the passenger with a severe peanut
allergy or the carrier?
6. Is there recent scientific or anecdotal evidence of serious in-
flight medical events related to the airborne transmission of peanut
7. Should any food item that contains peanuts be included within the
definition of peanut products (e.g., peanut butter crackers, products
containing peanut oil)? Is there a way of limiting this definition?

Let your voice be heard, this is vital. I'm going to go comment right now!


Anonymous said…
I tweeted this and posted it to Facebook - the more people become aware that allergies are killers to people more so than an annoyance to others the better we off all of us allergy suffers are!. I may not be allergic to peanuts myself but I know enough people who are.
La Diva said…
NO!!!!! I suffer severe allergies to perfumes and scented hair-products - leading to life-threatening asthmatic reactions. Are they also going to ban the use of perfumes and scented hair-products on planes? How about on buses, trains, in public buildings - in ball parks? My husband suffer allergies to leather - makes his skin blister. Are you going to force the airlines to change all of their leather seats out? Come on people - take personal responsibility for your health and safety. It is impossible to legislate total safety - that's life. Understand your health issues and take whatever steps necessary - epi-pens (I carry one) or anti-allergenics medications.

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