Biting off More than We can Chew

But is it safe for people with medical dietary restrictions? Image credit Len Rizzi, public domain.

A New Zealand airline has announced plans to serve vegetarian hamburgers on its flights. I wish news reports on these changes delved into allergen risks.

“ The patty, made from wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes, is designed to taste, smell and even “bleed” like meat, thanks to an iron-containing molecule called heme, which comes from the roots of soy plants.”

Both wheat and soy are protected allergens under New Zealand law. Coconut and potatoes are also documented in respectable medical journals as causes of anaphylactic food allergies.

What disclosures will be offered to passengers? What other ingredients are used to color and flavor these imitation burgers?

Earlier this year an Australian man collapsed and stopped breathing after a trace exposure to a food allergen during a flight.

No one wants a life threatening emergency at 30,000 feet.