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Old 01-14-2019, 04:24 PM
Shinna Minna Ma Shinna Minna Ma is offline
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Bringing peanuts on an airplane and personal liability

Suppose I bring a bag of Planters Peanuts on a plane with me, and someone has an allergic reaction and dies. Can I be held responsible? (Of course, this could apply on any form of public transportation - train, bus, ferry, etc.)
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:35 PM
DPRK DPRK is offline
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You should check with the airline whether or not passengers are allowed to bring their own food and drink on board, and, if they are, whether or not there are any restrictions. ETA same for other transport; I certainly recall taking some buses with "no food/drink" clearly posted and some trains where it was allowed and snacks (including nuts) were sold on board.

Last edited by DPRK; 01-14-2019 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:07 PM
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In most, if not all commercial airlines I have never seen a prohibition on bringing your own food items on board.

I have never seen any criminal ordinances were I have a duty to protect others from their own food allergies. Now if suspected that someone was allergic to peanuts, and I pulled out my giant jar of Skippy and smeared peanut butter all over their face and forced it into their mouth making them ingest it, then that's another story, but I don't believe that's what the OP is considering.

Casual airborne contamination, should be the concern of the person with the allergy and they should take the appropriate steps to not put themselves in the public where casual contact is likely.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:00 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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I have twice flown on an airplane when they made a gate announcement that there would be a person with a peanut allergy on board and no one should eat peanut items on the plane. The first time I had brought a baggie of peanut cereal for my breakfast. I ate it quickly in the gate area and then went to the bathroom to wash my hands before boarding.

I would imagine that you might get in trouble if you deliberately brought peanuts on board after being told not to, especially if you argued with flight attendants about it. But as long as no food restrictions are posted or announced, you should be in the clear.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
In most, if not all commercial airlines I have never seen a prohibition on bringing your own food items on board.

Me neither. It wouldn't make sense to have places like Hudson News shops located past the security line and right next to the gates that sell peanuts, chips, candy, etc. and then be told you can't bring them aboard.
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:14 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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... especially now that most airlines have cut back or eliminated in-flight meals and snacks.
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:55 AM
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Diabetics who use insulin should ALWAYS have snacks on them. It could be just as much a matter of living/dying as someone else's allergy. Usually it's something full of sugar rather than peanuts, though.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:03 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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I have twice flown on an airplane when they made a gate announcement that there would be a person with a peanut allergy on board and no one should eat peanut items on the plane.
What possible good would that do? Thousands of bags of peanuts have already been opened on that plane, spreading peanut detritus throughout the cabin. Anyone with a peanut allergy that severe is taking their life in their hands, even if a temporary peanut ban is announced. If they don't have a reaction anyway, it is all in their head.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:04 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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There are probably lots of commercial planes still in service on which peanuts were served as snacks, and abundant traces of peanut still to be found on board despite the best efforts of cabin cleaners. And plenty of passengers would have nut fragments or essence on their clothing even if they didn't eat nut products on board.

If contact/inhalation of these micro-traces of peanut was a serious problem for the peanut-allergic, there'd be anaphylactic reactions and deaths on a daily basis.

That degree of ultra-sensitivity should be ultra-rare, and those who have it would be better off not flying.

Given this recent incident, I anticipate a day not too far off when all food will be prohibited in the passenger cabin, while a motley assortment of service animals runs amuck down the aisles.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 01-15-2019 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
What possible good would that do? Thousands of bags of peanuts have already been opened on that plane, spreading peanut detritus throughout the cabin. Anyone with a peanut allergy that severe is taking their life in their hands, even if a temporary peanut ban is announced. If they don't have a reaction anyway, it is all in their head.
This. People don't have allergic reactions from being in a room with a peanut. They've, very understandably, become fearful of peanuts, and the sight/smell is causing a panic attack, which can mimic the symptoms of anaphylaxis to a degree. Of course, the airline may have a real interest in stopping that from happening too.

(A very similar panic is now spreading through police circles, with the idea that cops are being poisoned just by touching fentanyl or people who have used it. But they're also just having panic attacks, and delaying treatment for actual OD victims in the process.)

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 01-15-2019 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:09 AM
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My wife has severe nut allergies and we fly about 3-4 times per year. She doesn't make mention of it to the airline and often they are serving peanuts on the flight. She just keeps clear of them and watches what she touches on the plane.
The only restaurants she really has to avoid completely are those that have the novelty complimentary peanuts everywhere. Five Guys and Texas Roadhouse are definitely out.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:18 AM
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Who are y'all flying with? I haven't been given anything but pretzels in years and years on United and AA.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:28 AM
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Southwest recently decided to stop serving peanuts:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/09/sout...f-peanuts.html

My daughter is, the tests say, highly allergic to peanuts, perhaps so much so that she's the kid who theoretically needs the "nut-free table" at school. IRL, it's not so serious. I keep peanuts in the house sometimes with no problems and have eaten peanuts around her with no problems. I'm not sure what the threshold would be for someone so sensitive that residual peanut dust would be an issue, but give the ubiquity of peanuts, how likely are people like this to be on a commercial flight?
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:39 AM
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When did the peanut allergy become so prevalent? As a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's, I never met a single person that had a peanut/tree nut allergy. My high school had 2,600 kids in it. No kids with nut allergies.

Today, you can't swing a stick around in a classroom, without hitting at least 2-3 kids with nut allergies. None of our kids have nut allergies. We started feeding them peanut butter when they were toddlers, 18 months onward.

We have friends whose kid is very allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. The mother swore off nuts when she was pregnant, because, what if the fetus is allergic to nuts. The kid was never given any nuts as a baby or toddler. They had him tested at age 4 or 5 for allergies, and sure enough he was allergic.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:50 AM
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I feel like I should know this by now, in one direction or another ...

[deep breath]

For all intents and purposes, isn't it true that a peanut-dust death from anaphylactic shock has never actually happened? I mean an absolutely established, all-non-crackpot authorities agree, death by stray airborne peanut protein molecules?

[/deep breath]

I know that anecdotes of extreme peanut allergies are legion. But in the scenario given in the OP -- that specific scenario -- is there any appreciable danger to a peanut-allergic person? Someone in the first row of first class opens a bag of peanuts ... it's a patent impossibility that a peanut-allergic person in the back of coach would have any physical effects at all, right?
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:50 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
The only restaurants she really has to avoid completely are those that have the novelty complimentary peanuts everywhere. Five Guys and Texas Roadhouse are definitely out.
For someone with the postulated severe reactions to peanut vapor, I doubt it would be safe to drive past a Texas Roadhouse with the car windows open.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 01-15-2019 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
When did the peanut allergy become so prevalent? As a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's, I never met a single person that had a peanut/tree nut allergy. My high school had 2,600 kids in it. No kids with nut allergies.

Today, you can't swing a stick around in a classroom, without hitting at least 2-3 kids with nut allergies.
Anecdotally: at least around here, peanut-free lunchrooms have never been a thing at either of my kids' schools (ca. 2007 - present). I wonder if the diagnoses of peanut allergies has perhaps been decreasing since the early-2000s? Or else allergists are guiding parents of peanut-allergic children to combat the allergy differently in recent years.

For instance, my anecdotal understanding is that circa 20 years ago, if a small child had so much as a skin reaction to peanuts -- but no anaphylaxis or anything like that -- an allergist was likely to advise the parents to nuke peanuts from orbit -- no peanut dust, no peanuts in their kid's school, etc. Maybe these days, more is understood about peanut allergies and such extreme avoidance is suggested less often?
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:17 PM
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Peanut allergies are increasing:

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/...rmine-a-cause/
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:21 PM
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That article cites information from 2010 -- I wonder what is cutting-edge medical practice and advice regarding peanut allergies today?
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by StarvingButStrong View Post
Diabetics who use insulin should ALWAYS have snacks on them. It could be just as much a matter of living/dying as someone else's allergy. Usually it's something full of sugar rather than peanuts, though.
Honey Roasted Peanuts anyone?
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
We have friends whose kid is very allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. The mother swore off nuts when she was pregnant, because, what if the fetus is allergic to nuts. The kid was never given any nuts as a baby or toddler. They had him tested at age 4 or 5 for allergies, and sure enough he was allergic.
Isn't the theory now that kids should be subjected to small amounts of nuts while they are young and thus build up a tolerance to nuts? Similar to the issues of parents who over clean the house or don't immunize their children. Attempting to keep them safe and distant from anything that could harm them in the world actually leaves them defenseless when they actually go out into the world.

And don't get me started on kids that grow up in gated communities and go to private schools . . .
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Old 01-15-2019, 01:20 PM
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Isn't the theory now that kids should be subjected to small amounts of nuts while they are young and thus build up a tolerance to nuts?
The truth seems to be they still really have no idea what causes allergies. In my wife's case she developed the allergy later in life after her first pregnancy at the age of 28.
Before then she ate nuts and peanuts all the time. Loved peanut butter, Reeses, mixed nuts for snacks, etc. Then she had a few odd reactions out of the blue; watery eyes, itchy throat and sinuses, short of breath; figured out they were food related and went to be tested. Sure enough she had a severe allergy to nuts. Why now? They had no idea, she just did.
With cross-contamination always being an issue trying to find nut-allergy safe food can often be a challenge. Bakeries are pretty much off the list since every bakery in the world uses nuts somewhere and they make all the food in the same kitchen. No birthday cake unless you make your own. Chinese food is out since they use a lot of peanuts and peanut sauce in the kitchen. Starbucks uses hazelnut syrup and of course use the same blenders for all their frozen drinks so those are out. There was a pizza place we liked until they decided to add a hazelnut dessert pizza to their menu which pretty much contaminates the whole kitchen. The list goes on and on.
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Old 01-16-2019, 12:27 PM
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In general in order to have liability you need to be aware of the danger your actions are likely to cause. Since there is no way for you to know if someone has a peanut allergy then you have no liability unless you have been informed and bring it on the plane anyway.
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:48 PM
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The increase in peanut allergies was caused by a generation (or more) of hypervigilant parents who actively intervened to prevent their kids from having nuts - peanuts especially - when they were young, i.e. while their immune systems were learning tolerance.

Then, presumably, some years later, in some kids at least, an anaphylactic reaction was precipitated when Ashley/Adam tries their first peanut and jelly sandwich. As far as their (now mature) immune system was concerned, the peanut was foreign.

Clinically important peanut allergies are reduced by purposely exposing infants and little kids to peanuts when they are very young.

Last edited by KarlGauss; 01-16-2019 at 06:49 PM.
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Old Today, 07:55 AM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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Is there anything to the thought that widespread smoke-free laws have increased the incidents of allergies. I'm not arguing against these laws at all, but it seems to me that if you are exposed to cigarette smoke from birth, even if your parents did not smoke, at every public place you go to then your immune system is getting practice at fighting off carcinogens.
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Old Today, 08:06 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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Is there anything to the thought that widespread smoke-free laws have increased the incidents of allergies. I'm not arguing against these laws at all, but it seems to me that if you are exposed to cigarette smoke from birth, even if your parents did not smoke, at every public place you go to then your immune system is getting practice at fighting off carcinogens.
I don't think most carcinogens are "fought off" or otherwise neutralized by the immune system (we don't make protective anti-asbestos antibodies, for instance, although there's a link between asbestos exposure and development of autoimmune disease). The more exposure you get to carcinogens in general, the more likely they are to, um, cause carcinogenesis.

I'd expect the incidence of exacerbations of chronic respiratory disease (i.e. COPD and asthma (which may have an allergic component)) to have decreased thanks to anti-public smoking laws. And there's some evidence to support that.

Last edited by Jackmannii; Today at 08:07 AM.
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Old Today, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Si Amigo View Post
Isn't the theory now that kids should be subjected to small amounts of nuts while they are young and thus build up a tolerance to nuts? Similar to the issues of parents who over clean the house or don't immunize their children. Attempting to keep them safe and distant from anything that could harm them in the world actually leaves them defenseless when they actually go out into the world.
Omar's story reminded me of the probably apocryphal story of a tiny village in England that finally got running water over a pump in the kitchen. One fellow figured the pipes would freeze so, wanting them accessible for replacement, mounted them on the outside of the walls. Sure enough, they froze and burst regularly.
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Old Today, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
When did the peanut allergy become so prevalent? As a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's, I never met a single person that had a peanut/tree nut allergy. My high school had 2,600 kids in it. No kids with nut allergies.

Today, you can't swing a stick around in a classroom, without hitting at least 2-3 kids with nut allergies. None of our kids have nut allergies. We started feeding them peanut butter when they were toddlers, 18 months onward.

We have friends whose kid is very allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. The mother swore off nuts when she was pregnant, because, what if the fetus is allergic to nuts. The kid was never given any nuts as a baby or toddler. They had him tested at age 4 or 5 for allergies, and sure enough he was allergic.
From what I can tell as a father of a couple of boys who are 7 and 4, the kids with food issues typically don't just have one- they have a whole raft of them at once.

I think there was maybe one kid in my grade level with a peanut allergy when I was a kid. Food allergies were rare enough that we pretty severely mocked a guy who claimed to have a lethal seafood allergy when we were in college; people just weren't allergic to food, and in the really rare case that they were, they got hives or diarrhea or something unpleasant, but not life threatening. We just thought he was being overly dramatic. Which he probably was, considering his personality that was revealed over the next four years, but we had no concept of food allergies either- they seemed about as absurd as this same guy's contention that he'd been hit in the chest by a basketball and his heart stopped. (or any of a half-dozen other melodramatic things that had supposedly happened to him)
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Old Today, 02:46 PM
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A bit of clarification; my children have no food issues other than being irrationally fickle and picky from time to time.

They do however have classmates with food issues- and they seem to be an all-or-nothing kind of affair.
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Old Today, 02:58 PM
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People are allergic to all kinds of things: could be groundnuts, could be strawberries, could be stray cat or dog hairs stuck to your coat. I stand by Omar Little's and my advice that it is a fool's errand to try to anticipate this, and there is no problem unless the airline explicitly prohibits bringing food on board, in which case they will say so.
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