June 29, 2010 12:01 PM
Packing your own food or eating before you take your next flight is not only a good idea, but a healthy choice. A new FDA report finds that airline food poses several health risks.
The report finds some kitchens where the meals are prepared use dirty equipment, employ food handlers who practice poor hygiene and store food at the wrong temperature. If that’s not enough to turn your stomach, some of the kitchens were littered with dead flies, roaches and rodent feces. One kitchen tested positive for listeria, a food-borne illness that is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and can cause stillbirth and miscarriage.
FDA inspectors reported poor work conditions that should never make it to airline passengers at two of the largest airline caterers – Flying Food Group and Gate Gourmet. “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.