The Transportation Department has been soliciting public comment on whether peanuts should be banned in deference to those with severe allergies.
But now, according to USA Today, the department, in a clarification, says it would need to receive a scientific study showing real harm before implementing any ban.
The reason the study is needed has to do with a funding provision from a decade ago that says no airline can be made to stop serving peanuts until 90 days after Congress and the transportation secretary receive such scientific information, the newspaper says.
The department has not commissioned such a study. Public comment on a possible ban is being accepted until Aug. 9.
The idea of a peanut ban is among a number of air traveler consumer protections proposed by the department in early June. Also being looked at is creation of a special peanut-free zone or prohibiting peanuts only when a passenger with an allergy requests it in advance.
The DOT is also seeking comment on how peanuts should be handled when brought on flights by the public.
Peanut allergy sufferers have pushed for restrictions, some saying they fear flying because they might have an allergic reaction in the middle of a flight. Some 1.8 million Americans have peanut allergies, and they can be life-threatening.
Several airlines have quit serving peanuts as a snack; Delta, the world’s largest airline, is among those that still do.
The DOT said it was looking for feedback from allergy sufferers, medical experts, the food industry and others concerned with peanut restrictions.