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Julianne Ponan

BANNING NUTS ON FLIGHTS IS A NO-BRAINER SAYS ALLERGY EXPERT AND CREATIVE NATURE CEO

Julianne Ponan, CEO of allergen-free food company Creative Nature, will call for a ban on peanuts on flights when she talks to the airline industry next week (June 14).

The activist who has life-threatening allergies - including being allergic to all nuts -  will urge airlines to do more to protect allergy sufferers during a panel discussion at the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg.

Also, following yet another incident where a British Airways plane was diverted when a young girl went into anaphylactic shock after a fellow passenger insisted in eating peanuts, Julianne has started a petition calling on the Government to give powers to airlines so their staff can confiscate peanut and treenut products from passengers who don’t listen after told there is an allergy sufferer on board. 

Currently, all airlines have their own policies in place for keeping passengers with allergies safe while onboard flights. This leads to frequent incidents, lack of clarity for airline staff and allergy sufferers even being refused as passengers on some airlines. 

The panel discussion at next week’s global expo will host a number of nutrition and special diet experts who will be discussing the future of special meals in aviation and travel. 

Julianne said: “My position on this is clear. I could inhale an allergen just being close to someone eating nuts and, if I go into anaphylactic shock, I could stop breathing and die. Nuts should not be served onboard aeroplanes and passengers should be informed that they should not eat them onboard.

“However it’s clear that cabin crew do not feel they have the right to confiscate peanut or treenut products from passengers who do not comply with requests to protect a fellow passenger with allergies.”

She will also ask that staff are trained to use auto-adrenalin injectors (these are often called Epi-Pens, which is a trade name) because the time it takes to divert and land could be too late for some passengers.

This happened to teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse on a British Airways flight on 17th June, 2016. She died after eating sesame seeds that were baked into the dough of a baguette she had purchased from a Pret a Manger store at Heathrow Airport prior to boarding her plane. 

There were no allergen warnings on the packaging and the seeds were not visible. She suffered an anaphylactic shock on board the plane and crew members were not sufficiently trained to save her. 

Following a campaign by her family, Natasha’s Law closed a loophole that meant pre-packaged foods made and sold on the same premises did not legally need to display a list of ingredients. Had crew members been trained to use auto-adrenalin injectors on that flight, Natasha could have survived. 

“Banning nuts on flights should be a no-brainer,” said Julianne. “Not only will it make it easier for allergy sufferers to travel, but it will also be safer as well. Airlines have a duty of care to their passengers and that includes ensuring everyone can enjoy their flight in comfort, knowing food is safe and staff members are trained to help should an incident occur.”

But as Julianne explained, it doesn’t just make human sense, it also makes commercial sense: 

“Currently, 80% of all flight diversions are a result of a passenger suffering an anaphylactic shock. And each time a plane is diverted, it costs the airline approximately £80,000.” 

Julianne will be speaking not just because of her expertise on allergens and allergen-free food, but from personal experience of the lack of coherent, consistent and safe airline allergy policies. 

In fact, an incident occurred following a previous appearance at the expo, on her flight home, she asked the cabin crew to stop people from eating nuts because of her peanut allergy. The crew refused the request and asked her to wear a mask, which she didn’t have and they couldn’t supply. She was then advised to wear her jumper across her mouth for the duration of the flight. 

It was Julianne’s own experiences of living with multiple food allergies and anaphylaxis that led her to found Creative Nature and create a range of allergy-safe, tasty and healthy snacks. Creative Nature’s award-winning products are free from the top 14 allergens and use superfood ingredients to improve their nutrient value and make them lower in sugar than alternatives on the market. 

The Future of Special Meals in Aviation and Travel panel discussion takes place in the Taste of Travel Theatre, a dedicated area at the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) where ‘onboard trends of tomorrow and beyond’ are explored by experts in their fields. 

The Anaphylaxis Campaign offers advice for allergy sufferers ahead of air travel, including details on the policies employed by different airlines and checklists for booking flights and the day of travel – https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/living-with-anaphylaxis/travelling/

To find out more about Julianne, Creative Nature and its range of award-winning products, visit https://www.creativenaturesuperfoods.co.uk/

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy Swindon

Scott Media

Scott Media is run by a UK-based journalist with more than 20 years' experience in the media - print, radio and television.

6 Gold View, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 8GZ

Fiona Scott Media Consultancy
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