Airline Foods Pose Scary Health Risks

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If sleep-deprived pilots won’t kill you, the meals might.

USA Today revealed reports from the Food and Drug Administration Monday showing that a significant amount of airline foods may pose serious health risks. The FDA sent inspectors to the two biggest airline caterers and one smaller caterer who deliver more than 100 million meals each year to domestic and foreign airlines, including Delta and United.  The results were disturbing, to say the least.

“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,” USA Today reports. In fact, there were so many dead roaches in one catering facility that the FDA inspector dealing with it declared they were “too numerous to count.”

USA Today also reported that besides grossing out passengers, these problems could cause travelers to suffer food poisoning, and even worse, some of the facilities were determined to have a type of bacteria called listeria that could be fatal for children and the elderly if ingested.

At the moment, it’s unclear what the net effect of these findings will be. Each of the caterers mentioned in the report has attested that the proper precautions are taken to ensure that their food is safe. One of the caterers told CBS News that the problems in the report had already been taken care of while another caterer said in a statement that they would be taking this report “very seriously." In the future, the FDA will likely hold a follow-up inspection to ensure that these businesses have fixed these problems.

Even before this report came out, previous studies had shown that airlines sometimes have bacteria on the tray tables you eat on and even in the water you drink. Perhaps for the time being, it’d best to just stuff yourself with food in the terminal before you take off.

Looking for more reasons to hate flying? Check out MainStreet’s roundup of airline horror stories.

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