Responding to a Ministerial Inquiry regarding the management of food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame seeds on Canadian airlines, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) recently released a report.
The findings will be incorporated into future CTA actions which could include the “development of standards, either regulatory or voluntary performance-based ones, and guidance material to address the issue on a systemic basis.”
Food Allergy Canada (FAC), a stakeholder in the process, reported the following findings by the CTA and followed each with a salient recommendation:
Air carriers are not required to carry “stock” epinephrine, an auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen®) that is not prescribed to an individual, but can be used by non-medical professionals to treat anyone experiencing a severe allergic reaction.
Flight crew training
Train flight crews on signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Create a buffer zone consisting of the row the allergic passenger is in and not serving meals or snacks containing peanuts, nuts or sesame seeds in the buffer zone.
Advise other passengers within the buffer zone that they must refrain from eating peanuts, nuts or sesame seeds or foods containing them.
Communication with passengers with food allergies
Advise passengers who provide advanced notification of their allergies about safety measures they can take, such as carrying their EpiPens® and bringing their own food.
Seat Area Cleaning
Allow passengers to pre-board to wipe down their seating areas.
Have allergy policies on air carrier websites.
We commend Food Allergy Canada on their recommendations and urge US carriers to follow suit by adopting similar protocols to help safeguard their passengers with food allergies.