I’m happy that I’ll be eating some home-cooked turkey tonight, two articles this week highlight the poor food safety records of two airline food catering giants. Severe violations were documented for both LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet who collectively cater around 82% of commercial flights! United’s in-house catering company, Chelsea Food Services, and Air France’s Servair were not included in either article. The ABC News article which was part of a 20/20 story this week can be found here, while the Huffington Post has a related article here. LSG Sky Chefs facilities were “infested with ants crawling over discarded food, flies both dead and alive — and roaches all over.” Gate Gourmet wasn’t much better with inspectors noting “roaches, gnats (“too numerous to count”), unrefrigerated food, utensils on dirty racks, and more.” Using a Freedom of Information Act request, ABC News obtained the picture below which was captured by FDA inspectors at LSG Sky Chefs.
Perhaps more disturbing are the alleged consequences on passengers who have eaten the meals, as per the Huffington article we should definitely be staying away from the chicken option!
- In May 2011, a mother filed a claim in Australia’s Supreme Court stating that her unborn son suffered food poisoning on a Virgin Australia flight after she ate a tainted chicken roll.
- Shortly thereafter, a man filed suit in the Australian Supreme Court against Virgin Australia, which he blamed for his needing kidney surgery after eating the bad chicken.
- Chicken was also the culprit in November 2011, when a woman claimed food poisoning contracted from an American Airlines meal killed her husband. (American disputes the claim, stating that the man became sick after only 30 minutes into his MIA-BCN flight, prior to any food service).
- In April 2012, a Qantas passenger found that her snack packs of trail mix were infested with maggots.
Unfortunately, there is no concise listing of caterers for each airline, though even if there was you can be confident that each caterer has their own safety violations. In other airline health news, Yahoo had an article earlier this week on the germiest place on an airplane. Happy Turkey Day all, hopefully there’s no chicken being served tonight!