Great Debate About ‘Nut Fee Zones’

By Heather Legg

We so often hear of the debate between those with allergies versus those without. Those with need nut free zones, peanut fee schools, nut free airlines. Those without allergies don’t get it and don’t see why everyone should be troubled for the needs of a few. Just like everything, though, there is lots of grey area in between these two sides.

I’m a parent of child with a nut allergy. However, I don’t like it that so many schools ban nuts and peanuts and all sorts of things. I’ve never wanted an airline to not serve nuts around my family, and though on occasion, I’ve asked for the bowl of nuts to be put away, sometimes that doesn’t bother me, either. I mean whose to say that the person pushing our shopping cart before us didn’t get hungry in the store and munch on her tin of cashews or that the toddler riding in the top didn’t smear peanut butter across the sides?

We can’t control it all. And what happens when my daughter is in college, or goes to work? Will her roommates not “be allowed” to eat nuts, or her classmates, or her office mates? What about when she rides a bus, goes to a baseball game, the movies – I think they serve peanut M&M’s in theaters. How about a mall or a door handle anywhere? I also don’t think there’s a lot of nut free offices or work spaces out there.

I just read a great piece on www.torontosun.com by Connie Woodcock, a writer who’s had allergies since childhood, but agrees that you can’t everything everywhere. What about dairy allergies on airlines? What about wheat allergies on airlines?

She does argue that children aren’t as well prepared to protect themselves so there is some need to ban peanuts in school, especially with bullying, but airlines and other adult heavy places…Woodcock says,

Adults can protect themselves. If you’re so allergic you can’t sit in an airplane seat near someone eating nuts, then perhaps you shouldn’t leave your house. Grocery stores, restaurants, a subway ride — the world is full of potential hazards.
I’ve flown Air Canada when nuts were served and it only bothered me once — because there was no other snack aboard and I hadn’t had breakfast.
But I’m responsible for me and a lifetime’s experience says I can’t depend on others.

Well said.

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