TIME health columnist Christine Gorman says that school officials using a prohibition on peanuts to stave off a rare medical disaster -- and the lawsuits that might follow -- may be applying a pound of prevention for an ounce of cure. "A ban is not very workable. It could increase the stigma for the allergic child, and it could also bring a false sense of security," she says. "The whole plan could be undone as soon as some child brings a Snickers bar from home." The more reasonable solution: equip allergy sufferers with epinephrine syringes and hope for the best. In the current climate, however, reasonableness may have to wait for a vaccine -- and Gorman says that could be years away.
You could see why the health police went after Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man, but Mr. Peanut? From nut-free zones on airplanes to peanut butter-free elementary schools in the eastern suburbs, allergy paranoiacs -- backed by, of all things, the Americans With Disabilities Act -- are starting to throw a scare into the good old boys down in Georgia who put the P in PB&J. "People are going to be allergic to things," said Jerry Usry of the Georgia Peanut Producers Association on Wednesday. "To have peanuts singled out seems unfair."