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Does This Mean That Southwest’s Peanuts Can Come Back?

Does This Mean That Southwest’s Peanuts Can Come Back?
FlyerTalk

It was a sad day for a lot of frequent fliers when Southwest Airlines announced that it would no longer be serving peanuts. In a world of changing perks, seats, and experiences, the familiar presence of Southwest’s peanuts was a reassurance that some things never change… until they do.

But, Southwest’s decision to nix the peanuts wasn’t a cutback, it was a preemptive measure to address allergy concerns. And, we can’t say that we blame them. No airline wants to run the risk of causing, even inadvertently, a life-threatening reaction in a passenger. To mitigate the risk, Delta and American Airlines allow passengers to board early so that they can wipe away any¬†residual peanut matter from their seats.

Other airlines, like Turkish Airlines, Aerolineas Argentinas, Korean Air, and more have removed passengers from planes when they alert the crew that they have peanut allergies. Not only does this ruin the passengers’ trip and create bad PR for the airline, it is sure to make some passengers hesitant to speak up when they’re at risk on a flight.

There have been so many recent peanut-related incidents on flights that it’s fair to wonder if the world isn’t simply more sensitive than it was before. And, that’s because it is. Allergist & Immunologist Newton Li, MD says that there has been a rise in the prevalence of peanut allergies due not only to “better recognition and more attention to diagnosing it” but also, a difference in the way peanuts are processed, and a general rise in all allergies over the past 10 or 20 years.

The First Peanut-Allergy Drug Is Here

The Food & Drug Administration has approved a drug that may provide some relief. It’s called Palforzia, and it’s a treatment developed by Aimmune Theraputics designed to add an increasing amount of peanut protein to food over six months until the patient develops a tolerance to two to four peanuts (some patients have reactions to as little as 1/30th of a peanut).

While this drug won’t cure peanut allergies or allow patients to start consuming peanuts, it will prevent severe reactions in case of accidental exposure on, say, a plane that is serving Southwest peanuts. Allergy sufferers will have to keep their EpiPens and other medications close by, but they may be able to fly with less fear and may be less likely to be booted from a flight by an airline avoiding potential liability.

But, it’s certainly a step in a direction that might make flying with peanuts easier for everyone.

 

View Comments (9)

9 Comments

  1. ednumrich

    February 8, 2020 at 5:42 am

    O F C S . . . !

  2. Granmal

    February 8, 2020 at 9:52 am

    The problem is the ‘new’ idea of when to wean babies which is now typically 6 months. See article attached or Google it.

    A professor of paediatrics in the UK has said that we should wean babies sooner than we currently do to avoid them developing allergies.
    The advise comes ‘too late’ in the opinion of Gideon Lack, professor at King’s College London.
    Lack believes it is becoming a large concern as more and more children are diagnosed with allergies every year.
    In the UK alone 64,000 children are being diagnosed with allergies every year ranging from peanuts to dairy intolerance.
    In Ireland, approximately five per cent of children and three per cent of adults suffer from food allergies, with some being severe enough to cause anaphylactic shock.
    According to Sky News Lack said; “Food allergy is a growing issue, it has become a big issue, I would say to use the word ‘epidemic’ would not be inappropriate.”
    But how can weaning our children onto food sooner prevent this?
    Professor Lack believes that introducing children to ‘allergen foods’ sooner could halt this potentially deadly allergies in their tracks.
    He is now advising parents to start weaning their children onto food as early as four months of age. Currently most parents wait till their child is at least six months old.
    “Six months is certainly too late for egg allergy – the majority of which develops between four and six months of age. If we are to prevent an egg allergy and a substantial proportion of peanut allergy, we need to intervene earlier.”
    Professor Lack’s advise is a stepping stone to helping to prevent the rise of common allergies in young children and could possibly even be life saving.

  3. NotSoFrequentColorado

    February 8, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Airlines should just get rid of peanuts. Come to think of it, all those teeny 1-bite snacks are a waste of time, money and packaging. If people really need a snack with their drink they should bring it onboard.

  4. flyshooter

    February 8, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    Bring back the peanuts SWA! The current assortment of carb and sugar filled snacks are unhealthy. How about some low carb protein?

  5. azmojo

    February 8, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    1/30th of a peanut? It hardly seems likely that merely being on a plane where peanuts are served would be a threat. But if so, it seems that a simple surgical mask would be an effective countermeasure. Southwest should offer peanuts or surgical masks.

  6. CEB

    February 9, 2020 at 9:30 am

    First, multiple studies have demonstrated that much of the “peanut allergy epidemic” is the result of parental over protection of children from exposure to the real world in their first few years. In other words, parental paranoia causes more problems than it solves just as Dr. Lack says.

    Second, it is also very well know that peanut allergies are only stimulated by INGESTION and mere contact with peanut oils does not cause severe allergic reactions. In other words, someone eating peanuts in the seat next to you does not cause an allergic reaction. Of course, if you have an extreme allergy to peanuts and you shake hands with that person and then lick your fingers or pick up something with those fingers and eat it, there is a remote possibility of a reaction. But you must have an extreme allergy AND actually put your hands or something you handle immediately into your mouth.

    The peanut allergy issue is definitely real, but the understanding of the risk and susceptibility is horribly misunderstood and misreported in the media, likely to make sure their scare tactics never wane!

  7. CEB

    February 9, 2020 at 9:30 am

    First, multiple studies have demonstrated that much of the “peanut allergy epidemic” is the result of parental over protection of children from exposure to the real world in their first few years. In other words, parental paranoia causes more problems than it solves just as Dr. Lack says.

    Second, it is also very well know that peanut allergies are only stimulated by INGESTION and mere contact with peanut oils does not cause severe allergic reactions. In other words, someone eating peanuts in the seat next to you does not cause an allergic reaction. Of course, if you have an extreme allergy to peanuts and you shake hands with that person and then lick your fingers or pick up something with those fingers and eat it, there is a remote possibility of a reaction. But you must have an extreme allergy AND actually put your hands or something you handle immediately into your mouth.

    The peanut allergy issue is definitely real, but the understanding of the risk and susceptibility is horribly misunderstood and misreported in the media, likely to make sure their scare tactics never wane!

  8. ctm78

    February 10, 2020 at 9:19 am

    @azmojo, yes just that tiny 1/30th of a peanut can be a threat to someone with a severe peanut allergy; and a mask is not protective. Peanut allergic reactions need not be consumed or inhaled; topical contact can set someone off.

    That said, in our idiotic society, as life-changing as Palforzia could be for a person with a severe allergy; there will be the people who refuse to buy into this drug that big pharma has created because it should either be free (despite the billions that have been put into the R&D) or some alarmist will come up with a side-effect (probably autism again from a medical journal despite being long-proven to be false.) And when someone has a reaction, even after refusing to use Palforzia, it will still somehow be Southwest’s fault and a lawsuit will be filed.

  9. WileyDog

    February 15, 2020 at 11:01 am

    I once said to a SWA FA “If I told you I was allergic to pretzels, would you also discontinue them” , All I got in reply was a nasty look. It was an honest question, wasn’t it?

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