What, pray tell, do food allergies have to do with values? Isn’t this just a medical issue? Well, there’s a quiet war raging in the skies of America—the war over peanuts. It’s far more than a simple medical issue. It’s also a clash of values—freedom of choice, freedom of movement, and good-old free-market values.
This week on OurValues.org, we’ll tackle this clash of comestibles, and consider some of the new rules federal regulators are considering. Today, we’ll outline the issues.
On one side are the millions of Americans—increasingly, children—who suffer from life-threatening food allergies. This includes 1.8 millions who are allergic to peanuts. This side also includes medical professionals who know how serious peanut allergies can be. For some sufferers, the mere whiff of peanut dust can trigger anaphylactic shock—an acute reaction that drops the blood pressure and constricts the bronchia to the point that breathing is impossible. Many food allergy sufferers don’t fly on planes. They don’t enjoy the same freedom most of us do.
On the other side are the many more Americans who don’t suffer food allergies and who want the freedom to eat one of the last free foods in aviation: the goober. Joining the pro-peanut forces, of course, are America’s peanut farmers, processors, packagers, the airlines, and the retailers. They have an obvious economic interest in the issue, but the larger values of freedom of choice and of markets are at stake, too.
The Obama administration is considering what to do in this peanut battle: Whose rights shall prevail? I’ll write this week about the options the feds are thinking about, as well as more issues about values and food allergies.
For now, tell us: Whose side are you on? Why? Do you or anyone you know restrict their movement due to food allergies?
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(Originally posted in www.OurValues.org)