The Shmooze

'Got Nut Allergies? Get Off My Plane!'

By Masha Leon

  • Print
  • Share Share

Addressing the 650 guests — mostly mothers of young and teenage children with food allergies — at the Food Allergy Research & Education Spring Luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street, allergic-to-nuts WABC-TV Anchor Lori Stokes spoke of “the dramatic rise in the number of children with life-threatening food allergies” and her anguish that her 19-year old allergic daughter Nicolette— now at Georgetown — “might come in contact with a crumb from an almond or Brazil nut!”

Karen Leon
Lianne Mandelbaum

What galvanized the audience was honoree Lianne Mandelbaum’s narrative and call to action vis-a-vis the [mis] treatment of allergic passengers by the airline industry. Her youngest son Josh has been diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts. Awaiting a flight, a family nearby was eating nuts and she alerted them to her son’s plight. “I was shocked to see their kids throw nuts in the air, crushing them on the floor and laughing!” She then asked a flight official— and multiple employees up the line — for a brief announcement that there was a child on board with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts. “All refused my request…and the last one said, “If you think he ‘s going to die — don’t get on the plane!”

There was a communal gasp in the room.

“That’s the moment that flicked on the switch,” said Mandelbaum (whose name translates as almond tree!) “There were no guidelines in place [on airlines] to protect children and adults with food allergies… I was equally shocked to learn that there was a high level of discrimination against people with severe allergies and was determined to speak up, educate and create change.”

A native of South Africa who came to the U.S. at age 10, and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from SUNY Albany with an MS in Physical Therapy from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Mandelbaum cautioned: “One day your son or daughter may have to take a flight to college…travel for work…and may fly on an airline that has no allergen policy in place…What makes it so different from accommodating a child or adult in a wheelchair?

“And why this consistent rudeness?” asked Mandelbaum, who founded wwwNonutraveler.com (her motto is “Good things come to those who wait. Great things come to those who act.”).

FARE CEO John Lehr welcomed the assemblage and Dr. Hugh Sampson, Director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, detailed some of the research being done. Josh Mandelbaum is currently involved in a peanut desensitization study. His reactions may one day provide answers, medication and possibly prevention of life-threatening reactions to peanuts and other allergens. It was announced that FARE has put in place a College Food Allergy Program to help colleges and universities adopt comprehensive food management policies for all aspects of college life.

All left with goody bags stuffed with delicious nut-egg-gluten (and other allergen)-free, cookies, doughnuts, candy, snacks, cakes and jellybeans.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: allergies, nuts, Food Allergy Research and Education

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.