Airline Food Prep Kitchens Pose Health Threat…Big Surprise…
(CBS) Airline meals are notoriously unappealing, but newly disclosed reports from the FDA suggest they could pose a serious health threat.
If I may interject here, any place where food is prepared poses a serious health threat. Even your kitchen cutting board for instance. There is no doubt that preparing and handling food takes a great deal of care, and although this is no excuse for a dirty commercial kitchen, let’s get a grip and come to this realization that yes, food prep and handling can be a sensitive affair when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene.
The reports, obtained by USA Today via the Freedom of Information Act, say that some kitchens where the meals are prepared use unclean equipment, employ food handlers who practice poor hygiene, and store food at the wrong temperatures.
When you hire people at minimum wage and all they want to do is punch out for their break time or for the day, you cannot expect them to appoint a great deal of care to hygiene and most don’t know what the right temperatures are…do you? This comes down to supervision and operating standards.
In addition, some kitchens were littered with dead cockroaches, flies, and rodent feces – and at least one kitchen tested positive for listeria, a bacterium that can cause potentially deadly infections.
Again, newsflash, any place that prepares and stores large quantities of food, even your finest dining establishment will have a roach or vermin problem or BOTH! That’s just common sense. Yeah that’s right, you think your favorite 5 star restaurant doesn’t have this problem? Think again.
Three caterers were named in the reports: LSG Sky Chefs, Gourmet, and Flying Food Group. Collectively, these caterers prepare more than 100 million meals each year, including those served by Delta, American, United, U.S. Airways and Continental.
Are we done smearing the companies who provide a service and clearly prepare a HELL of a lot of meals! If you think about it these companies combined produce 30,000 meals per day…think about it, most people don’t even prepare 3.
Not to mention that quality is directly tied to the amount of money the airlines can allot to the seat. So yeah, airline food ain’t great but what do you expect when profitability and production volume is the order of the day?
These conditions provide a welcome mat for the germs that cause food poisoning, said Roy Costa a former Florida state food inspector who reviewed the reports for USA Today. He called the situation “disturbing,” saying that “it poses a real risk of illness and injury to tens of thousands of airline passengers on a daily basis.”
No kidding…and what about the people who go into their local eatery and get food poisoning on a daily basis? What’s the statistic on that?
A spokesperson for Flying Food Group, Ellen Pritsker, told CBSnews via email that the “findings” attributed to the company had been addressed and that it works hard to ensure that food is safe.
The two other caterers did not respond to requests for comment by press time, but they also told USA Today they work hard to ensure food is safe.
Now if they can work on flavor.
You see, when preparing 30,000 meals a day the truth is that it’s very hard to find or maintain:
1) Good hard working employees who always follow the strict guidelines of hygiene and food safety.
2) A place where you can store food where rats and cockroaches can’t infest. Have you seen the holes these things can fit through?
3) Instill and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction, in this case the customer isn’t the passenger it’s the airline, and the airline’s job is to find the company that’s going to give them the best deal and service.
4) Don’t even let me get started on flavor. All they can do is add more processed food simulators or just salt & msg.
Don’t get me wrong here, I am not an airline CEO (obviously) and I’m not a food prep employee, but it’s very easy to point fingers when it’s a slow news day and print articles that only provide fuel to the fire of fear mongering.
We have enough to worry about, so worst case is that if you eat a bad meal, you’ll have the runs, maybe vomit a little. Grab some Alkaseltzer, Perrier water, Ginger Ale, Coke, Dr. Pepper and maybe some immodium and you’ll make it through and above all else don’t eat where you ate that day…ever again.
Most importantly don’t let the fear mongering get to you.