New federal report on food allergies and air travel in Canada

Airplane_silhouette2The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has issued a report on its “Ministerial Inquiry into Allergies to Peanuts, Nuts and Sesame Seeds in Commercial Air Travel” (June 2016). The Inquiry looked into the issue of passenger allergies to peanuts, nuts and sesame seeds onboard aircraft with 30 or more seats on domestic and international flights operated by Canadian air carriers, and on international flights to and from Canada operated by foreign air carriers.

Included in the scope of the Inquiry was an assessment of the risk mitigation measures the CTA previously recommended (in June 2011), vis-à-vis passenger allergies to peanuts and nuts, in response to passenger complaints against Air Canada and Jazz Aviation LP.

The CTA Report finds “little to no evidence that there is a risk of anaphylaxis due to inhalation of or dermal contact with peanut, nut or sesame seed allergens; rather, any risk of a serious allergic reaction that might exist would be as a result of accidental ingestion.” It then goes on to affirm that “given the serious health implications of such a reaction, risk mitigation measures are nonetheless warranted,” and to list a number of new recommendations to complement those it issued in 2011.

The Report also includes an Appendix that outlines the policies—regarding allergies to peanuts, nuts and sesame seeds—of 16 Canadian, 26 international and 8 US airlines.

The full Report, and its Appendix (“Air Carrier Policies Regarding Allergies to Peanuts, Nuts and Sesame Seeds”) can be accessed from the Resources section of the AllerGen website.