FDA finds health violations on airplanes

Nov. 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cited airlines and their food caterers for more than 1,500 health violations over the past four years, documents show.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, ABC News obtained lists of recent health violation records from the FDA, which included finding mice, ants and roaches in areas food is prepared or stored.

"You put that all together, and you have a time bomb," said Roy Costa, a food-industry consultant and former health inspector.

Most companies said health violations found at their facilities were "isolated incidents" and any violations were corrected.

The FDA reported evidence of mice on Delta Airlines planes.

"This clearly was an isolated incident and we cooperated with the FDA immediately to resolve it immediately after it was brought to our attention," the airline said in a statement. "The health and safety of Delta's customers and employees are Delta's top priority. We take this issue very seriously and have an established routine servicing program to inspect our aircraft."

At Gate Gourmet, which serves many top airlines, inspectors found roaches, gnats, unrefrigerated food, utensils on dirty racks, and more. In its defense, Gate Gourmet said in a statement, "None of the FDA's observations ... indicated a threat to the health of the traveling public."

"Those things are direct threats to public health," Costa said, noting that if insects are in the room, they're probably in the food. "You can't have insect remains and feces of rodents and dead flies [in these areas]."

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