Thursday, December 16, 2010

Flying with A Peanut Allergy: United Airlines Snack Boxes

Whenever we fly, we fly United (well, 99% of the time).

So when we went to Maui a few weeks ago, we flew United (spring for Economy Plus seats if you can - trust me those extra inches seem like feet when you're in the air).

United's got a pretty great peanut policy (you can read it here at the bottom of the page).  The caveat in there is that their snacks may be made in a facility that processes peanuts and tree nuts and that their snack boxes could contain other tree nuts.

Snack boxes, you say?  What, pray tell, is in the snack boxes??

So in the name of research, while on the flight to and from Maui, I purchased a snack box (I had safe snacks for B - I wasn't going to risk not having safe food for her in the sky).

You can see a list of snack box choices here.

I need to preface this with a HUGE pet peeve.  These items come in a larger box that's only labeled with the name of the snack box (e.g. Tapas Box).  So annoying.  How are you supposed to know the safest option if you can't read any of the labels??

So I've taken the liberty of listing the allergens or allergen warnings listed on each package in parenthesis (if they didn't have a warning but have a top 8 allergen in it, I've listed it as well).  Hopefully one of you guys will find it useful!

On the way there I chose the Tapas Box.
  • Oloves Marinated Olives (no warning, contains olives, evoo, salt/pepper/thyme. mustard, vinegar and lactic and citric acids)
  • Milas® Bruschetta Spread (no warning, contains roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, onion, vegetable oil, tomato paste, garlic, salt, vinegar, thyme, black pepper, basil)
  • Wild GardenTM Hummus (no warning, contains chickpeas, sesame paste, water, sea salt, natural spices, citric acid)
  • Rondele® Peppercorn Parmesan Cheese Spread (contains milk)
  • Fratelli Laurieri Spread Al Rosmarino Crackers (warning:mfd in a plant that also processes nuts, eggs, and sesame, contains wheat flour, veg oil, olive oil, sea salt, brewers yeast, rosemary)
  • Jacobs® Cream Crackers (warning: contains gluten.  produced on a line handling sesame seeds, milk and egg)
  • Partners® Olive Oil and Sea Salt Crackers (warning: contains milk and wheat)
  • Emerald® Natural Almonds (contains: almonds (duh), manufactured on shared equipment and may contain other tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, sesame seeds, milk and soy)
  • Fantis® Ouzo Candy Mint

On the way home, I chose the Classic Snack Box
  • Keebler Townhouse® Crackers (warning: wheat and soy ingredients)
  • Snyder’s® of Hanover Mini Pretzels (warning: produced in a facility that handles peanut butter. contains: wheat)
  • NabiscoTM Oreo Cookie (warning: contains wheat, soy)
  • Jelly Belly® Assorted Flavors (no warning.  contains coconut)
  • Del Monte® Vanilla Yogurt Raisin Fruit Snack (manufactured in a facility that processes tree nuts, peanuts, dairy and soy)
  • Austin® Zoo Animal Crackers (warning: contains wheat and soy)
  • Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish (no warning, but contains wheat, milk, soy)
  • Dairyfoods Cheddar Spread (no warning. contains:milk)
So there you go.  There's actually some edible food for kids with a peanut allergy (or other food allergy for that matter).  Just remember that labels are always changing - be prepared for the possibility of these items having different warnings at another time.

So the $25,000 question: Would I buy these again? 

Probably not.  

I'd likely just bring some fruit leather, real fruit, bagged goldfish and a sandwich.  

But if I was stuck on a flight with B and she was desperate for a snack, at least I would know what to expect when I opened those mysterious boxes.

What snacks have you seen on other airlines?  Anything tasty?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great information! I'm curious to know how you handled the EpiPens for the flight--did you have a note at security check? And how many did you have? Our Allergist says to have one for every 20 minutes of flight. Yipes! That's tons of EpiPens to get to Hawaii. So--could you address how all of that worked for you? I've been hesitant to fly since we've gotten the EpiPens. Thanks!

Pez said...

Air Canada sells an outrageously expensive can of Pringles from their snack list.

Anonymous said...

have you ever had any problems fling? do you make an announcement? what is your comfort level while fling?

at this point, i am too afraid to fly anywhere with my daughter. 3 yrs ago she developed hives on her face mid flight from seat cross contact or airborne particles...

Anonymous said...

Would you let B eat something that had no warning, but unknown "warning" labeling policy?

Anonymous said...

We are planning to visit Hawaii soon. Did you find high usage of peanuts or peanut oil in restaurants there?

Gab said...

I found that there was way more prevalence of macadamia nuts and almonds while we were there.