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Almonds in the plane! Is it really that necessary?


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eccentric January 3, 2009


Is it really that necessary to serve nuts in the plane?


We recently took a Northwest/delta flight from Detroit to Amsterdam. The first thing that got served was Almonds. The entire plane smelt of nuts. Luckily, my son's life threatening allergies to nuts including almonds is NOT airborne. Previously we had a discussion here that the lady had a reaction to food in the plane and they had to do an emergency landing. Is it really worth it? Would people really miss having almonds if say pretzels are served? Any thoughts?


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MagnetMom January 3, 2009


eccentric,

I know it's frustrating, but you're going to have to a lot more public education before old habits die. My son's friend has a peanut allergy and he booked onto our flight and then told my son he'd called the airline to get the nuts off the cross-country flight. My son, 16 at the time, seriously wanted to choose a different flight.

Many of us are ingrained to get excited when the flight attendant rolls down the aisle with the drink cart (where else would you get excited over ginger ale or cranapple juice?) and the packs. As a kid I remember my dad coming home from business trips with a few packs he saved, and I know on some of my trips I'd bring them home to my son, and he was more excited about that than any souvenir I gave him.

My family truthfully hates pretzels, so I'd have to hope there's another option, although we find ourselves bringing our own snacks as they start charging for these items. Southwest actually passes out a cute airplane cracker on the non-peanut flights. I know full well it should be about the safety of the passengers, but I think we're a LONG way from educating the masses on the dangers (and the masses fully understanding those dangers).

I wonder if anyone has offered to be part of a focus group or committee with the airlines on what can be done for airline safety given how serious a problem this is.

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eccentric January 4, 2009


MM, you know you read my my mind about a focus group for these airlines. You are also right about hardships in educating the masses but it has to be done due to rise in allergies. I hate pretzels too but surely there are better options, right? I would like to write to NW-Delta Air about serving nuts and address this issue. In fact, perhaps a small article in Detroit Free Press??! I''m sure they won't publish it but I can try?
Look, my son is 8 years old now. He reads all the ingredients (has been ever since he started to read). He knows what not to eat. But think about people who are not as careful...we have some at our school! Don;t we emphasize on "prevention" everywhere?

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MagnetMom January 4, 2009


It's clearly perception and misinformation, and frankly doubt. Our school was considered a "peanut-free" campus (it can't be enforced in the lunches brought from home, but the school site council can decide what can't be available in the cafeteria) until the district came in and said we couldn't do that. Two moms with very allergic kids fought like crazy to get that reinstated.

Parents that I know personally, that are very understanding on many fronts truly didn't believe the allergies could be that severe, that the parents were making it up, and if it was that severe, perhaps the kids didn't belong at school. I was really shocked.

My daughter has been at this school since kindergarten, and although PBJ is one of her very limited foodgroups, my daughter would truly starve to death before she'd eat anything that would hurt a classmate (or a potential one).

Thankfully none of the kids have airborne allergies, but still, parents and teacher (and in the case of airlines, the general populace) need a LOT of education. The trouble you'll have with an airline is that they will tell you they need small bags that are fairly uncrushable (that's why it's not air-filled Potato Chip bags). I know on Delta last spring, they were *selling* large bags of nuts, since most of the airlines have gone to "for purchase" snacks.

I would start with the newspaper, and then airlines (and perhaps trying to contact Southwest since I know they remove nuts from some flights if asked ahead of time). It's about education, not about screaming or freaking out or being a nuisance. With luck, by teaching the kids and nudging the corporations, they'll find a time *soon* to be nut-free.

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Child_Of_Ra January 5, 2009


MagnetMom

United Ted flights have a little airplane shaped cheese cracker, that taste exactly like Goldfish, but the regular flights that are not Ted do not have them. I book Ted as much as possible. Although my last trip they served packets of almonds and granola with nuts in the various box lunches. The little commuter jets from here to LA are rife with nuts, even though they tend to serve pretzels with drinks. People bring them on board and the staff does not prevent the people from eating them. United says that although I could request a nut-free flight, there is nothing anyone can do to stop anyone from bringing and eating their own nuts. My husband recently checked this with Southwest and they said the same thing.

So even if we did manage to get the airlines to officially go 100% nut free, the passengers are the danger to those of us with airborne allergies.

Instead of them regulating how much perfume I'm carrying in my carry-on, or toothpaste is in my tube, I'd rather the security put restrictions on nuts!

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eccentric January 6, 2009


Child_Of_Ra,

When I was much younger, I would get excited about getting anything to eat in the plane (as MM pointed out). When I "grew up," I realised that plane food wasn't that great after all...It tastes of nothing (except for ice cream on the Eurpoean flights! :), and on longer flights, it a means to an end. Why would people not give up on nuts is truly beyond me! Have we no empathy any longer? Or have we become so selfish and callous that we simply couldn;t care less...I don;t know!

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MagnetMom January 6, 2009


I really think it starts on the ground, rather than just in the air. People feel trapped on planes and when they are told what they can't do/have, they can't exactly up and leave.

They aren't able to rationalize this isn't a choice like veganism or any form of vegetarianism. This is an allergy and it's life-threatening.

I know I was less than thrilled on a flight to Atlanta last year when a cat was carried on board, and I wondered about people who might be allergic--and those allergies are certainly not life threatening. Imagine my (and a couple hundred other people's) horror when it turns out there were TWO cats on board--because the other one got loose. It was like "Snakes on a Plane" with flight attendants coming on the PA system asking for the owner to come to the front and try to catch it while it ran under all the seats (It *is* funny now, it wasn't really funny then).

Nuts become an ethical issue because it comes down to the rights of the allergic person versus the collective rights of the entire plane. I certainly wouldn't mind an airline not serving nuts, but I wonder at what point we'd have to stop? If I bring my own food, would it have to be policed for trace elements? Would it be ok if it were manufactured on equipment that also processed nuts? If I bring chips, and find out they were fried in peanut oil, am I now going to starve on the plane because of the possible issue of one in ten? one in one hundred? one in a thousand? And not all are airborne, so are there going to be levels of compliance?

I'm not trying to be contrarian, because I'm willing to be educated, but I know how many other people would simply say "enough!" and ignore all requests to comply.

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eccentric January 6, 2009


MM,
Cats on the plane!! LOL

You are right. People do feel trappped in the air especially if one is having an anapylactic reaction...they can't just call 911, can they now?

Look, I agree with you 100% that it is a complicated issue and where should you stop? However, in my mind it's never an "ethical" issue when somebody's life is at risk...It's a right to live vs right to eat! Very simple, isn't it?
Now, perhaps there is a middle ground. Airlines must be approached so they can announce when "on the ground" that food containing nuts won't be allowed on the plane. As far as I know (Child_Of_Ra can correct me if I'm wrong), unless it's "exposed" nuts such as pure nuts or granola bars or nut oils, it won't be allergenic! In other words, foods processed in the facility that handles nuts or made on the same equipment or "may contain traces" of nuts won't be enough to trigger a reponse unless ingested! Questions is how many people really read any labels! hummm

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Child_Of_Ra January 8, 2009


Eccentric and MM

Foods that are processed on equipment or contain traces of nuts can trigger an allergic response for *some* people who have anaphylactic reactions to the allergen, however, it's less common than the actual nut being present.

I have ensured that I have a 100% nut-free home, which means no-trace of a nut anywhere at all. We have food processed in the facility, but I have found that I tend to be of the rare percentile that has a mild reaction to it if I ingest it. But I don't mind if others do. But as for processed on equipment or contains traces, I won't have it in my house. But I have been shown to fall into the rare category on more than one occasion, so I don't want to take any chances.

Besides, the more a person with allergies is exposed to the allergen in question, their risk level and reaction level can increase dramatically.



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