After using the federal rule-making process to solicit a couple hundred pro and con comments on a proposed ban on peanuts on commercial carriers, the U.S. Department of Transportation had to admit it was all just a drill. DOT lacks the authority to impose such a ban.
Such an action would violate a year 2000 provision of the appropriations act that funds DOT. That law prevents DOT from banning peanuts or requiring any peanut-free buffer zone on any airline.
Only if Congress and DOT commission peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that allergy suffers are truly at risk on peanut-serving airlines could a ban be considered. And, then it would have to come after a 90 day period after the scientific work was turned in.
Since none of that has apparently and the law remains on the books, DOT dropped its own proposal last week.
The proposal received significant attention after it was announced on June 8. Those with peanut allergies favored the proposal while peanut growers opposed it.
Peanuts are hard to find on many airlines today because financially strapped carriers have gone to cheaper substitutes like pretzels and corn nuts.