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Don't eat airline food: roaches, flies, and mice. Yum.


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FDA report reveals airline food could pose health threat

By Gary Stoller, USA TODAY

Many meals served to passengers on major airlines are prepared in unsanitary and unsafe conditions that could lead to illness, government documents examined by USA TODAY show.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors have cited numerous catering facilities that prepare airline food for suspected health and sanitation violations following inspections of their kitchens this year and last, according to inspection reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

REPORT: FDA inspectors found live roaches

The inspections were at U.S. facilities of two of the world's biggest airline caterers, LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet, and another large caterer, Flying Food Group.

The three caterers operate 91 kitchens that provide more than 100 million meals annually to U.S. and foreign airlines at U.S. airports. They provide meals for nearly all big airlines, including Delta, American, United, US Airways and Continental.

The FDA reports say many facilities store food at improper temperatures, use unclean equipment and employ workers who practice poor hygiene. At some, there were cockroaches, flies, mice and other signs of inadequate pest control.

"In spite of best efforts by the FDA and industry, the situation with in-flight catered foods is disturbing, getting worse and now poses a real risk of illness and injury to tens of thousands of airline passengers on a daily basis," says Roy Costa, a consultant and public health sanitarian.

Conditions open the door to food-poisoning outbreaks, says Costa, a former Florida state food inspector who volunteered to review the FDA reports obtained by USA TODAY.

All three caterers say they work hard to ensure food is safe. And airlines say they monitor the food that goes onto their planes.

LSG Sky Chefs has "comprehensive and multilayered quality-control standards in place to ensure our customers receive safe, healthy and high-quality food," says spokeswoman Beth Van Duyne.

Norbert van den Berg of Gate Gourmet says findings are taken "very seriously" and the company uses an independent auditor for quality assurance. Glenn Caulkins of Flying Food Group also says his company's facilities are independently audited for quality assurance.

JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin says the airline requires caterers to provide results of FDA inspections and does its own "impromptu" visits to their facilities.

Find this article at:

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2010-06-28-1Aairlinefood28_ST_N.htm

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Whether you are on a plane or in a restaurant, you never know who is picking their nose, sneezing, not washing their hands after going to the bathroom etc. It's better not to know or you would never eat outside of your house.

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Whether you are on a plane or in a restaurant, you never know who is picking their nose, sneezing, not washing their hands after going to the bathroom etc. It's better not to know or you would never eat outside of your house.

Thank you for that. Excuse me while I go gargle with some Clorox now.

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Whether you are on a plane or in a restaurant, you never know who is picking their nose, sneezing, not washing their hands after going to the bathroom etc. It's better not to know or you would never eat outside of your house.

This is really exaggerated. Even your everyday sous-chef makes sure everything from the line to the pantry is sanitary, and servers generally do as well. Short of you insulting their mother, you can be pretty confident what you're eating doesn't have boogers in it. Not saying it never happens anywhere, but the odds are really stacked against it happening to you specifically in a restaurant.

To tell you the truth, I've never even seen a roach, and certainly never a rat, in any restaurant I've ever worked in.

Of course, I'm talking from the point of view of at least casual dining and above. There's a fine line between your average bistro and the salad pantry at Taco Bell, and also the kitchen that prepares your airline food.

Edited by RutgersJetFan
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This is really exaggerated. Even your everyday sous-chef makes sure everything from the line to the pantry is sanitary, and servers generally do as well. Short of you insulting their mother, you can be pretty confident what you're eating doesn't have boogers in it. Not saying it never happens anywhere, but the odds are really stacked against it happening to you specifically in a restaurant.

To tell you the truth, I've never even seen a roach, and certainly never a rat, in any restaurant I've ever worked in.

Of course, I'm talking from the point of view of at least casual dining and above. There's a fine line between your average bistro and the salad pantry at Taco Bell, and also the kitchen that prepares your airline food.

I was in an upscale Italian resaturant and saw a roach crawl up the wall right in front of me. I eat all the time for business and pleasure and it hasn't slowed me down, but it happens. While I'm sure most places take pride in their cleanliness, like most of the population, not all food servers are diligent in keeping their germs to themselves. I'm not talking about intentional sabotage, just dirty habits.

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