I am writing this because almost all of the concerns expressed in the various blogs concern peanuts/tree nuts, and people should be aware situation is much more complex than “nuts or no nuts” on a plane. Some time ago, in advance of a trip overseas, I inquired of a particular airline as to whether or not it could provide me with a list of ingredients in the various meals. I was told the airline could not and was advised to bring my own food.
My allergies are not to peanuts or tree nuts, but to numerous other things commonly found in cured meats, such as nitrates/nitrites, food colouring agents such as annatto found in orange coloured cheese and Mexican food, MSG and its precursors, as well as other common ingredients. I therefore carefully packed croissants, bagels, a container of cream cheese, and a container of hummus, as well as other items. I was relieved of most of these at the security check – bagels that had some cream cheese already on them. I was therefore left purchasing food from the various outlets that one could visit after the security check. Many of the items that one can purchase for take-away contain things to which I am allergic and in many cases I am told that staff cannot advise me what is or is not contained in them in any event.
For certain medical reasons, when travelling for more than 2 or 3 hours, I must have something to eat which contains protein/complex carbohydrates. I therefore travel with snacks such as peanuts, mixed nuts, and similar items, which I am certain security will allow. This obviously creates a problem if there is someone on the aircraft who is allergic to those things, but until the airlines can assure me that whatever they are serving does not contain ingredients to which I am allergic. My solution is simple: airlines should be required to identify the ingredients of all meals they serve on board-I see no reason why they cannot label the meals similar to the way food in the supermarket is labelled. Thus issues such as the ones I have raised can be avoided. Until then I will continue to take those things that I know I can consume and which will not be confiscated at security.