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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
That's great that you're taking the time to pursue this. What about mentioning that a lot of people who are deathly allergic to peanuts are also deathly allergic to tree nuts. Also, even if peanut allergic people are not allergic to tree nuts, they need to avoid them because they are almost always cross contaminated.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:37 pm
Posts: 6
Air Canada seemed very accomodating to my ds's allergies. We brought all of our own food for him and there was really nothing but the bread on the tray that he could not eat.

They allowed us to board early and clean his area. The steward on the way there announced that there was a child on board with an allergy and could people please refrain from any nut products.

We had a great trip and plan to go again next year. Maybe if there are enough of us out there that bug everyone at the airlines they will do something about these problems.

Chris


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
dans_mom, thanks for posting. It's good to hear about positive experiences.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
I did all the research and gathered all the information from Krispy Kernels. This is my reply to Air Canada. I'm going to send a copy of my correspondence to Anaphylaxis Canada so they can be kept informed. I'd also like Allergic Living to be aware of it, for a possible article. Are there any other organizations in Canada I can send this to?

By the way, please feel free to write Air Canada yourselves and express your opinion on the matter. If they hear from others who are allergy-aware, it may help stop them from serving these snacks on their flights.

Email: http://aircanada.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/a ... er/ask.php?
Fax: In Canada or U.S. 1-866-584-0380
Mail: In Canada or U.S.:
Air Canada - Customer Solutions
PO Box 64239,
5512 4th Street, NW
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2K 6J0

Thank you for your reply. However, your answer is not acceptable. Firstly, you must know that when manufacturers state a "may contain..." warning on their products, they are not just merely "protecting themselves" as you state. It means that their products are manufactured in a plant or on lines that are not peanut-free and there is a very real possibility of cross-contamination. I find Air Canada's lack of awareness on this issue quite surprising and I find it difficult to believe that Krispy Kernels would have provided you with this misinformation, as they seem to be very allergy aware. Secondly, I decided to carry out my own research with Krispy Kernels' manufacturing processes. I specifically made my own enquiry about the 20g packages of almonds. The Quality Manager, Mr. Stephan Jackson, has confirmed that the 20g packages of Dry Roasted Smoked Almonds (UPC 3520) may contain traces of peanuts (as they accurately state on their packages). Therefore, Air Canada cannot guarantee that the packages of these almonds are completely free of peanuts and peanut byproducts, as stated in the peanut policy. Air Canada has still violated this policy. It is worth mentioning that Krispy Kernels has a new line of peanut-free products, including smoked almonds, called Axess. However, Mr. Jackson has confirmed that it is only the 50g package that is peanut-free. The 20g packages of dry roasted smoked almonds that Air Canada serves on its flights may contain traces of peanuts. This is a serious issue because your peanut policy is not only wrong, it is misleading to the people who are allergic to peanuts. They are led to believe that the almonds that Air Canada serves on their flights are peanut-free. Do you realize what would happen if a peanut-allergic person was exposed to these almonds aboard one of your flights? It only takes a trace amount to cause an allergic reaction, which may be fatal. There is a very real possibility that this person would have an allergic reaction and that it may be severe enough to administer the Epipen (due to the possibility of an anaphylactic reaction, which could be fatal). An allergic reaction of any kind requires immediate medical treatment and hospitalization. Ideally, the person should be seen by a paramedic or doctor as soon as possible and no later than 20 minutes of an allergic reaction, even though the Epipen has been administered. This is impossible to do while in the air. This is a very real danger to your peanut-allergic passengers. Even if they do not ingest or touch the almonds, the other passengers can and they may leave peanut residue all over the airplane, which can also cause an allergic reaction if a peanut-allergic person comes into contact with the same surface the other passengers touched.

I strongly recommend that Air Canada immediately stop serving the 20-g packages of Krispy Kernels dry roasted smoked almonds as it is a violation of Air Canada's peanut policy and puts the health and safety of peanut-allergic passengers at risk. Your policy also states that pretzels are served on your flights. I don't know if these are Krispy Kernels pretzels but I have also contacted Krispy Kernels to inquire about their pretzels and again, only the 50g package is guaranteed to be peanut-free. Therefore if you serve Krispy Kernels pretzels, they may also contain traces of peanuts.

This also brings me to the point I raised in my first communication with you (which you did not address): the serving of a food (Krispy Kernels dry roasted smoked almonds) that contains so many allergens. While I realize that your policy (even though it is wrong) guarantees peanut-free, it is still a significant health risk to serve a snack that contains so many of the top allergens (peanuts, nuts, seeds, sesame seeds).

For all the reasons stated above, I strongly suggest, once again, that Air Canada immediately stop serving almonds (and possibly pretzels) that may contain traces of peanuts and peanut byproducts.

I would appreciate a response to this email, preferably from an executive or manager and not a customer service representative.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Further to my post above... I received another email from Krispy Kernels' Quality Control Manager and they now saying that all of their products served on airlines are peanut-free. No further explanation even though his previous email to me confirmed that the same 20g packages of smoked almonds may contain traces of peanuts. So I asked for clarification on the manufacturing process and if there are perhaps two types of 20g packages of almonds (according to their website and the package of almonds I have in my possession, it is the same UPC code, hence the same product). Methinks they are trying to cover themselves now... I'll keep you posted!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Ok I just received a reply from the Quality Control Manager at Krispy Kernels. I must say that he has been very prompt in his responses to me. He confirmed that the 20g package of smoked almonds I was referring to (UPC 3520) is prepared in a plant that is NOT peanut-free. The packages that Krispy Kernels supplies to airlines should have the UPC code 5450, which are peanut-free and processed in a separate plant. So I wrote this to Air Canada:

I should also add that Krispy Kernels has confirmed that the peanut-free UPC code for airlines is 5450. So why has Air Canada served smoked almonds with UPC 3520, which Krispy Kernels has confirmed is prepared in a plant with peanuts and therefore may contain traces of peanuts? Air Canada has violated its peanut policy.

So I really don't see how Air Canada can boast about being a peanut-free airline. I'm so curious to see how Air Canada will reply to this.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Storm, that's a great letter! you've got them cornered. no logical room to maneouver in. of course, i personally am not so concerned about the 'may contain peanuts' as i am about the 'contains almonds' as I am just as severely allergic to almonds...but that is a separate issue. They definitely should not serve anything that 'may contain peanuts' if they are claiming to be peanut free.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Thanks, Helen. The saga continues. I received another evasive reply so i'm cornering them even more.

Air Canada's reply:
Thank you for your comments.

Please be assured these have been forwarded to the appropriate department for their internal planning considerations.

We appreciate the opportunity to conclude this matter, Ms. ---.

Sincerely,
Customer Solutions


My reply:
I can't consider this matter closed as I have not received any replies to the issues I have raised. Will you be able to provide these answers? I have also requested that a reply be given by a manager and not customer solutions. Can you tell me which department you have forwarded my comments to? I would like the name of the Department Head and address.

To recap, these are the issues I would like answers to:

1. Why did Air Canada violate its peanut policy and serve smoked almonds (Krispy Kernels UPC 3520) that may contain traces of peanuts, as confirmed by the Quality Control Manager at Krispy Kernels?
2. How will Air Canada address corporate responsibility to those allergic to peanuts? Its peanut policy is misleading and provides a false sense of security as it states that the almonds and pretzels are "guaranteed to be completely free of peanuts and peanut byproducts."
3. Why did Air Canada provide me with erroneous information and state that the Krispy Kernels smoked almonds do not have traces of peanuts in them?
4. Why did Air Canada purchase and serve the 20g-size Krispy Kernels smoked almonds from Krispy Kernels with UPC 3520 (that may contain traces of peanuts) and not Krispy Kernels' peanut-free packages of smoked almonds for airlines with UPC 5450?
5. What are the peanut verification procedures Air Canada follows when purchasing snacks from its suppliers?
6. Since it has been established that the packages of smoked almonds from Krispy Kernels UPC 3520 may have traces of peanuts in them, will Air Canada stop serving them?
7. Will Air Canada be reconsidering serving smoked almonds on their flights, as most packages may contain traces of other nuts as well as seeds/sesame seeds, which are all the top allergens as determined by Health Canada? In addition, this type of snack is eaten with the fingers and the passengers can easily contaminate the airplane if they touch the same surfaces that allergic individuals may come into contact with, such as door handles to the lavatory.

If Customer Solutions is unable to provide the answers to these questions, please provide the name of the appropriate department, name of department head and complete address.


Last edited by Storm on Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Thanks for keeping us posted. I wrote an email to US air recently in response to a call for action on peanutallergy.com. Haven't heard back....at least you know that someone has read your email even if they are being evasive. The evasiveness isn't a good sign, though.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
That's right, Helen... it's not a good sign. Below is their latest reply. Hear that? That's a big sigh of discouragement! I don't know what else to do now... I emailed Anaphylaxis Canada hoping they could advocate. I haven't received a reply. Maybe I will send a letter to the CEO of Air Canada and demand an answer, but right now, I feel very discouraged. The only power I have is to stop flying Air Canada. Too bad for them because I fly to the UK and back 4 times a year (that's 8 flights). With all the financial problems they are having, you'd think they'd do a better job keeping their customers. I find it quite funny that the name of the department is Customer Solutions. They haven't solved anything! *rant mode off*

The Customer Solutions Department is responsible for responding to customer complaints. We report directly to senior management, who although are unable to address individual inquires, review tabulated reports prepared from customer feedback on a monthly basis.

Please be assured your feedback has been included in this report and our office considers this matter closed. We will, therefore, be unable to respond to you further on this issue.

Sincerely,
Customer Solutions


Last edited by Storm on Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:06 pm
Posts: 4
I am in the process of finding out what Air Canada's policies are on preparing staff and passengers for the fact that an allergic individual is flying that particular flight. It really is scary how negative they are about the whole situation. We are flying in September with my 4 year old peanut allergic son. I certainly don't plan to feed him any food that I don't bring myself, but all I asked was if there was any policy about notification - announcement in boarding area? announcement on the plane? specific seating I should request? anything I can do to help keep ds safe? etc. Basically I got met with "fly at your own risk" - no policies in place. I will be relying on the compassion of the staff I encounter at the check-in and gate I guess to do what I request, without the guidance of any sort of policy from their employer. Really disheartening.[/b]


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
Storm,
I believe the airlines are regulated by the federal government. I don't know but maybe your local MP could be contacted or a federal agency? I don't know if government officials would be able to help resolve allergy issues but it might be worth a try.
Kate

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Kathy, that *is* disheartening! I've heard that WestJet is better for people with allergies (not sure personally whether this is true, though)....but that doesn't help if you've already bought your ticket. Maybe if enough people complain they will change their policy.....it worked with USAir (which as of the end of June will no longer be selling peanuts on their flights....although I think mixed nuts are available in first class...can't remember the exact details.)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:06 pm
Posts: 4
Thanks for the moral support - I've just emailed them directly, we'll see what they say.

We bought tickets already because some of us are flying AirMiles, and Air Canada is the only company taking AirMiles who flies to San Diego. Will think twice next time....

_________________
Kathy
DS Kieran - July 02 - allergic peanuts, eggs, dairy
DD Megan - April 97 - NKFA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:06 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Air Canada's lack of response or vagueness in regards to allergies is frustrating. I emailed them to complain about a broken meal tray on my flight back to Canada and they apologized and gave me 2,500 Aeroplan points for my inconvenience. But anything that has to do with allergies, complaints or even request for info... they tend to either ignore or dismiss. :roll:

Kathy, my son flew to Los Angeles with Air Canada. The passengers have to buy their own meals (no complimentary meals) on most North American routes. The spring issue of Allergic Living has a brief article on this (page 33). Because some passengers may bring their own food, it is harder to control the allergens brought aboard. Having said that, my son had a good flight experience (to and from). Make sure you bring up the issue with the flight crew if you have any concerns about other passengers around you. They served cashews on the flight... I don't know if this is consistent but if you are uncomfortable with this, let the flight attendants know. Bring disinfectant wipes to clean the trays and armrests and a clean blanket for him to sit on. Chances are that the attendants will be very accommodating... it's the Head Office that doesn't want to deal with the issue.

Let us know how it went and how Air Canada responds.

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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