The United States Department of Transport is considering banning peanuts on commercial flights, according to media reports.
Several options are reportedly being looked at, including banning peanuts on flights with a registered allergy sufferer on-board; introducing peanut-free ‘buffer zone’ rows of seating for allergic passengers; and banning the serving of the nuts on all scheduled flights.
More than three million US citizens suffer from a nut allergy, according to a survey by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. An estimated 150 to 200 Americans die every year following an allergic reaction to food, with the majority of fatalities involving peanuts.
But not everyone supports an in-flight ban on the snacks, with Alabama Congressman Bobby Bright voicing widespread concerns that it would be impractical to enforce.
“This is a clear case of the government trying to regulate something that shouldn’t be regulated,” he said. “For years, airlines have provided peanuts to passengers with few problems or complaints.”
Congressman Bright went on to raise the possibility of the ban creating a “false sense of security” given the difficulty of ensuring that passengers do not bring peanuts on planes accidently.
Air Canada has already introduced allergy ‘buffer zones’ and does not serve in-flight meals containing peanuts, following pressure from Canada’s own Department of Transport. The flag carrier was given an ultimatum in January to provide a solution to the nut allergy issue.