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Airline peanut ban in limbo

Peanut growers protested last month when the Transportation Department asked the public to comment on proposals to protect airline passengers with peanut allergies.

The agency offered three alternatives: Ban peanuts on all commercial flights, create a peanut-free zone around allergic passengers who notify airlines before boarding or do nothing.

Now it's unclear whether it is moving ahead with any peanut restrictions. Two weeks after asking for public comment, the Transportation Department issued a clarification. It pointed out that federal law forbids it from adopting any peanut restrictions without producing a scientific study that shows airborne peanut particles can harm allergic passengers.

Transportation officials say the agency is not currently pursing such a study but is still asking the public to chime in on the issue.

Peanut growers see this as a victory. The Georgia Peanut Commission issued a statement declaring a proposed airline peanut ban dead.

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