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Airline Meals Are Frequent Source of Food PoisoningAirline food is often the source of jokes because of its reputation for poor quality. Many will remember the classic comedic film “Airplane!,” in which a majority of the passengers of a flight become ill after being served fish for dinner. Food poisoning from airline food is very real and not a laughing matter. It is difficult to track how many people contract food poisoning from food served on airplanes because passengers can disperse across the country or around the world. However, we do know from individual complaints and government inspections that there are numerous cases of food poisoning that originate from airline food.

Startling Findings

Third-party food catering services provide most of the meals that people eat on airplanes. The federal Food and Drug Administration is responsible for inspecting the caterers for health code violations. A recent investigation by NBC News reported that the FDA has documented several violations in the past four years, such as:

  • Listeria contaminations in facilities
  • Expired food being used
  • Food that was not stored at a safe temperature
  • Cross-contamination between raw and cooked meats
  • Fans blowing dust on food
  • Condensation dripping water on food
  • Bird and rodent feces in facilities

The investigation also claims that the FDA inspects airline catering facilities once every three-to-five years, as opposed to local health inspectors visiting most restaurants at least once a year.

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