Of peanuts, salt and bad airline food

You gotta love those wild and crazy Nanny State guys; they never stop searching for things to regulate, limit and tax, and they never, ever give up.  This past month of June has been a typical one for the federal nannies.

Within just one week earlier this month, the Department of Transportation, headed by federal nanny-in-chief, Secretary Ray LaHood, proposed and then backed away from a ban on serving peanuts on commercial U.S. air carriers.  Seems the feds realized after proposing the ban, that they really didn’t have the authority to ban the roasted legumes.  In fact, the folks at DOT apparently forgot they are expressly prohibited by law from summarily banning peanuts on airlines. 

The small number of persons who fly commercially and who also happen to be allergic to peanuts, first cheered and then booed the federal actions.  However, the much larger groups of Americans who are not allergic to peanuts, breathed at least a temporary sigh of relief that this small but welcome perk (for which the airlines do not yet charge passengers), would remain legal.  Another reason the early demise of the peanut ban was welcomed by the flying public, is that this snack food may be some of the safest food served on airlines; at least according to a report issued also this month by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  According to the FDA, much of the prepared food served on major U.S. air carriers is prepared in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.  While this reported finding could account for the uniformly poor quality of what little prepared food is still served on domestic flights, it does illustrate why it is important to at least insure that packaged, roasted peanuts remain available to ease the hunger of air passengers.

But wait; don’t ease your vigilance yet.  There’s another nanny-ism looming on the horizon.  The federal Salt Police at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are continuing their pressure to convince restaurants and commercial food producers to cut back on the amount of salt used in food preparation.  A study by the CDC released in mid-June moves this ball a bit closer to the goal line of forced salt-reduction, by headlining that only “1 in 18″ Americans limit their daily salt intake to the level recommended by the federal nannies.  This continuing effort by Nanny State adherents, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, could be employed by the feds as a peripheral attack on peanuts, insofar as the peanuts given out on airlines contain — shudder — salt! 

Stay tuned.  These Nanny-State battles are far from over.

67 comments Add your comment


June 30th, 2010
1:13 pm

Rockerbabe…you sound like a good government do bee. I nominate you as the new nutrition tsar


June 30th, 2010
4:09 pm

Maybe if we were more attuned to our fellow human beings and ourselves, we would not need “nannyism”. Food companies dump tons of salt in prepared foods…buy a can of ready made salsa or soup. Airlines could serve cashews, but peanuts are cheaper. Maybe we need the nannies to tell us how to behave because lots of folks don’t know how to behave properly. Maybe we should tell BP they don’t have to clean up their mess?


June 30th, 2010
8:26 pm


Maybe you should go hug a tree.

Eli Jones

July 1st, 2010
7:40 am

Did anyone know that Obama exempted Muslims from his Commiecare healthscam boondoggle but you will be prosecuted if you don’t carry Obama’s Commiecare. Obama’s strategy is, divide Americans and over whelm the system.



Barack Hussein Obama, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm


July 1st, 2010
7:57 am

Wonder if Jimmy Carter’s peanut company supplies the airlines???


July 1st, 2010
8:42 am

swede, put down the Kool-Aid. the only reason these “necessities” exist to ensure that we’re all productive worker bees in the hive of American consumersim. when the economy really collapses, you know what will be necessities? food (including peanuts), potable water, shelter, and perhaps a working firearm.


July 1st, 2010
8:59 am

rockerbabe, you need to call swede atlanta to explain the concepts of consumer choice and alternatives to him. there is far too much money to be made in treating overweight, diabetic, unhealthy Americans. and the costs of producing and selling healthy foods would destroy profits for Big Ag/Big Junk Food. I think Bob’s point is – the government is in bed with these corporate interests, so any legislation is biased. only individuals can ensure their own health, happiness (and transportation). more often than not the government modifies “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as opposed to providing it.


July 1st, 2010
9:09 am

FYI, I don’t like salty salsa, so guess what I do? I grow my own onions, tomatoes, cilantro and peppers. I don’t like airline snacks, so guess what I do (rarely fly), I bring an apple (probably tainted with pesticides). I no longer find Bruce Springsteen, REM or the Rollings Stones to be entertaining, so I don’t go to their shows or buy thier music. it would be nice to live in a world where people did not have food allergies, but we do not live in that world. it would be nice to live in a world where ALL corporations worked to balance profits/shareholder equity with altruism, but we can even agree on a definition of “altruism”. we are addicted to automobiles (petroleum), yet I know many people who have lost their licence to DUI, and many others who because of a physical/medical condition (epilepsy, blindness, paralysis) cannot drive. were we all to cut the cord with government – and the cord FEEDS government, not us – we’d soon learn to improvise and adapt to any situation. as I mentioned to swede, the day is coming (100-150 years?) when airplanes will only be used to ferry soldiers to put down riots and “civil unrest” in this and other parts of the world; or to deliver napalm, white phosphorus and cluster bombs on unruly members of the unwashed masses.


July 1st, 2010
11:34 am

I would like to know what percentage of the US population is so severely allergic to peanuts that the “Dust and Oils” in the air sends them into a major allergic reaction. I think you would find it is vanishingly small. Perhaps that miniscule segment of the population should not fly on airplanes or should use a respirator certified for filtering those “dusts and oils”. Yes, we could ban peanuts, but what other allergens are on planes? Do we ban passengers who wear cologne because it may cause an allergic reaction in someone else. There are probably many other things about airplanes that have the potential to kill more people than peanut allergies. When was the last time you heard about an airline passenger dying from inhaling peanut “dusts and oils” anyway, for crying out loud. By the way I am an Obama supporter and some people would characterize me as a liberal (although I am really a moderate).


July 1st, 2010
9:01 pm

I dont eat nuts.. Hosea Williams was a nut……………


July 2nd, 2010
5:34 am

How did people with peanut allergies survive until the recent years when peanut allergies became so widely known? However they were clinging to life then seems to have been effective. Why does everyone need to give up peanuts because a very few might possibly be allergic? People have forgotten that disabilities are just that: disabling. Perhaps a peanut allergy disables the allergic from flying commercially. I’m sure that would be frustrating, but it is the nature of disability.


July 2nd, 2010
8:52 am

The issue with peanuts as opposed to wheat is that all it takes is inhaling it, or touching the oil say on the door to the bathroom. People have not survived all these years with peanut allergies, it is a new thing, brought on in all likelihood by our current tendency to disinfect everything around us. We created the problem, and it’s a minor fix. I know many people with peanut allergies, and witnessed a person become short of breath from sitting within a few feet of someone eating peanuts at a hockey game. We moved. Can’t do that on a plane. I also spent the night at the hospital with that same person who came in contact with a minute particle of peanuts, and it entered their system. It’s scary, and it’s not a huge sacrifice. No one is asking you to go without peanuts, just go without for a few hours on the flight. We don’t allow smoking on the flight because of the health risk, how is peanuts any less severe for a substantial part of the population? It doesn’t really matter what the government does or doesn’t do, and I too am against the nanny state. In this case though, it is in the airline’s best interest not to serve peanuts. Most will realize this and ban them.


July 2nd, 2010
12:23 pm

On the one hand, it is not difficult to pack your own plane snacks or prepare beforehand for being hungry. I never go anywhere without water and an energy bar of some sort; I’m not diabetic or anything, I’m just prepared. When I’m hungry, I get cranky.

I like to eat snacks while flying, but if it would save money, I’m fine for airlines to stop serving them. Just have water available, and that’s it.

Also, I’m not a doctor, and I am reading some conflicting reports on peanut allergies. Can people get sick from airborne particles, or not? If you don’t know for sure, then stop acting like it’s gospel. Real science in this country is hard to find these days; we obese Amurricans like our junk food and our junk science.

For all the people on here saying they have “lots of friends with peanut allergies,” I know no one with this problem. I found the link from Johnny at 7:29 very interesting, and plan to look further into the assumption that peanut allergies are reported to be 1 in 10 but are more like 1 in 50.

It would be just like us to inflate the crisis out of proportion. It’s a lot easier for people to just believe everything they are told than to actually investigate multiple sources and find out the truth (if you think I’m kidding, look at how many people actually believe the Bible is true).


July 9th, 2010
7:57 pm

To whomever asked about ADA and peanut allergies being a disability–yes, according to the Americans With Disabilities Act, people who have any life-threatening food allergy fall under the category as one with a disability and yes the airlines would have to make accomodations.


July 9th, 2010
8:03 pm

And I agree that peanuts should be banned from airlines, especially since and individual with this type of allergy is 30,000 feet in the air in a sardine can with wings and cannot readily get to a hospital in time, even with having been given the Epi-pen. It’s a sad world if the only time someone can get their peanuts is when they step into an airplane. The last time I checked, they are still sold in grocery stores, at sporting events, convenience stores, sales clubs, and road-side stands. Plenty of oppurtunity for fans of peanuts to buy and enjoy them then, especially since they actually have the chance to do so.

John D

July 15th, 2010
10:32 am

Mr. Barr generally exhibits the laudable trait of being consistent in his libertarian views, but I must admit I find this debate particularly strange in light of the national hysteria about terrorism.

According to the State Department, there have been about five thousand Americans killed in the United States in acts of terrorism since 1960. The number of Americans killed in that span by illnesses directly attributable to overconsumption of salt (I won’t bother to look it up–partly because nobody will read this anyway) is easily in the tens of millions.

You’re orders of magnitude more likely to be killed by salt than by Osama, and yet many of the same people decrying nutritional regulation as “nanny statism” tolerate or openly applaud absurd TSA security theater–shoeless lineups, puff portals, “strip search” scanning machines, arbitrary detentions, four-month old babies landing on the no-fly list…

Indeed, at the moment there’s actually a public debate about whether a mosque should be built in lower Manhattan. This in a country with constitutionally-protected freedom of worship! Unbelievable!

It’s intellectually dishonest to decry some, but not all, “nanny-statism.”
…Especially given the reality that salt is hundreds of thousands of times more likely to kill you than Al-Zawahiri.


July 20th, 2010
7:43 am

Thanks for sharing your information. I was travelling through southwest from Philadelphia to Chicago the snacks was the worst. nothing was good. i was waiting the plane to land . The airfare is also at expensive rate as they changer on extra luggage