Overlooked aviation security gap: the caterers

by lmallernee | July 18th, 2012

July 16, 2012

How needles got into turkey sandwiches served on four United States bound Delta Airlines flights out of Amsterdam on Sunday is “food” for an FBI investigation, reports International Business Times.

The needles were discovered in sandwiches on flights from the Netherlands to Seattle, Minneapolis, and Atlanta. Two passengers suffered minor injuries, and one passenger is said to be on the drug Truvada to treat HIV.

Delta immediately ordered all 18 flights from Amsterdam to stop serving the sandwiches. The Transportation Security Administration then notified all U.S. airlines with flights out of Amsterdam.

“Delta has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide onboard our aircraft,” a Delta spokeswoman said.

She added that the airline requires its caterers “to adhere to strict criteria” and that “safety and security” is its No. 1 priority.

Serving an average of 9,700 flights each day in 28 countries to 300 million passengers annually, Gate Gourmet, where the tainted sandwiches originated, said “Gate Gourmet immediately launched a full investigation to determine the root cause of this disturbing incident, and we are treating this as a criminal act.”

Sunday’s incident shows that catering operations have the potential to be a gaping hole in aviation security.

If you or someone you know has had his or her safety compromised in a commercial aviation or private aircraft accident, the aviation accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.