Airline Food Might Not Only Taste Bad, It Might Make You Sick

Maybe it’s a good thing that more and more airlines are charging to chow down on their mediocre meals. FDA reports uncovered by USA Today reveals the unappetizing conditions at some of the kitchens that prepare the overpriced grub.

At the Denver kitchen for LSG Sky Chefs, the largest caterer for airline food, inspectors found cockroach carcasses “too numerous to count,” not to mention that the kitchen floor tested positive for everyone’s favorite bacteria, Listeria.

Via the Freedom of Information Act, USA Today requested FDA inspection reports for the kitchens operated by LSG as well as those operated by second-largest caterer Gate Gourmet and another large caterer, Flying Food Group. Together, these three operations run 91 kitchens and prepare over 100 million meals to the airline industry each year.

Of the 46 inspection reports received by USA Today thus far, 27 of them were flagged for violations by the FDA. Among the less-appetizing:

•At the LSG facility in Minneapolis, inspectors found a mouse, rodent nesting materials and rodent feces under a pallet of food and elsewhere in the kitchen.

•Gate Gourmet’s Dulles, VA, facility of Gate Gourmet, was cited for failing to keep shrimp, filet mignon, Chilean sea bass, chicken and vegetables, and pastrami and cheese sandwiches at the proper temperature. And even after the inspector pointed this out to employees, the shrimp and the pastrami and cheese sandwiches were not thrown in the garbage.

Luckily for everyone, airline cost-cutting and higher prices for food are having a positive impact on the quality of the food coming from these kitchens.

Says an FDA rep, who knows to never order the fish dish:

With less ready-to-eat fresh food offered in coach class and substitution with prepackaged, shelf-stable foods, the opportunity for poor preparation, storing foods at improper temperatures and food-handling violations is much lower.

Inspectors find safety flaws where airline food is prepared [USA Today]