Weâ€™ve all heard the jokes about how bad airline food is, but this is no joke.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned LSG Sky Chefs, a leading producer of in-flight food, about recent inspections which found live and dead roaches and the potentially deadly bacteria listeria inside the companyâ€™s Denver food-processing plant.
Exposure to listeria bacteria is a leading cause of food poisoning and can result in deadly or severe illness, particularly in the elderly or frail, young children, or people with weakened immune systems. Officials said there have been no reports of airline passengers becoming ill from tainted food, officials said.
The company has responded to the FDA by saying it has cleaned up its act following the federal inspections, according to an Associated Press report. The company also said it has fired the general manager and head chef of the facility in question, the AP said.
When chemical treatments failed to kill listeria found in a kitchen floor drain, the company replaced the pipes and drain, she said. Listeria is a bacteria linked to food-borne illness, officials said.
LSG is owned by German carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG but its U.S. subsidiary provides in-flight food to Delta, American, United, and other airlines from 43 kitchens around the country.
A recent FDA inspection of the companyâ€™s Denver facility found live and dead roaches “too numerous to count” in several areas of the kitchen, including at least 40 live insects in the silverware station, according to the AP report.
Also during the inspection, FDA officials saw employees touching food with bare hands or while wearing unwashed gloves. Other problems cited reportedly included water dripping from the ceiling into utensil-cleaning areas and holes in walls that could house insects or vermin.