Aw Nuts! CTA Refines the Buffer Zone


As outlined in a previous post, the CTA has determined that a nut allergy can be a disability which must be accommodated by air carriers.  The previous rulings required carriers to set up buffer zones when provided with at least 48 hours notice of an allergy by a passenger and that only peanut free and nut free foods could be served to all passengers in the buffer zones.

Recently, the CTA ruled on the issue of whether Air Canada faced an “undue hardship” after Air Canada informed the CTA that it would not be able to comply with the previous ruling requiring that all foods served in the buffer zones be nut free. Air Canada advised that it utilizes numerous different in-flight catering companies and although it directed the caterers to ensure that peanuts and other nuts are not ingredients in certain dishes, it could not guarantee that there would not be traces of nuts through cross-contamination from the machines used for the production of foods.

The CTA distinguished foods that contain nuts as an ingredient and foods that may contain traces of nuts. The CTA agreed that Air Canada did face undue hardship if required to guarantee that foods served in buffer zones contained no traces of peanuts or nuts. However, the CTA determined that it would not be an undue hardship for Air Canada to ensure that foods that had nuts as a visible ingredient were not served in the buffer zones.

*photo courtesy of Maggie Smith /
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