Needles Found in Airline Food; Safety Protocols Questioned

Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • 19
  • July

Airline passengers haven't been very enthusiastic about the many inconveniences that go in tandem with flying these days. Whether it's bad customer service, excessive security screening or expensive checked bag fees, passengers aren't happy with the airline industry. But the latest news relating to flying has actually put people's lives in danger.

Last weekend, inch long needles were found inside sandwiches served on four transatlantic Delta flights that departed from Amsterdam and headed to the U.S. Several passengers were injured; one flyer bit into a needle that punctured the roof of his mouth.

Authorities are looking into a Dutch food preparation facility that prepared the sandwiches for Gate Gourmet-the catering company that services the food served on Delta flights.

The TSA notified all U.S. airlines of the problem and security has been increased at the Amsterdam production facility. However, these precautions may not be enough.

Richard Bloom, director of terrorism, espionage and security studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, recently testified before a congressional committee on national security and hinted at the lack of safety protocols that were in place regarding airline food handling.

He indicated that despite selected portions of airline food routinely tested, food still remains susceptible to contamination. "When you start from how food is prepared and where it is prepared, and how many places it's prepared before it's put together and how many stops along the way until it actually gets on the aircraft," it's simply hard to regulate, he says.

Unfortunately, it seems, until the airline industry changes the logistics of food preparation, more and more passengers will be at risk for food contamination. Not only that, product liability lawsuits relating to food mishandling against manufacturers who are negligent with the production of food they prepare for airline passengers will most likely surface as well.

Source: Star Tribune, Delta needle inquiry focuses on food prep, Jim Spencer, July 18, 2012

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