Mmmm, Pink Slime. Airline Food Causes Food Poisoning

    May 20, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

From the “Eww, that’s gross” file, comes a food poisoning story involving contaminated carrots, airlines, and pink slime.

The tainted carrots were served with meals on several flights from Honolulu between August 22-24 last year for Delta, United, Northwest, Hawaiian and Aloha airlines. Forty-five people suffered food poisoning in 22 states, Japan, Australia, and American Samoa.

One lawsuit has already been filed against airline caterer Gate Gourmet Inc., who provided the meals.

This same Virginia and Switzerland based company was sent a warning letter by the FDA on April 21 regarding violations noted during a February inspection. Among the violations were a “pink slimy substance” dripping onto a washing machine conveyer belt, live cockroaches, flies, and mold on refrigerator windows.

Gate Gourmet said it addressed the problems of the warnings and contends that the source of contamination has not been definitely linked to them.

Hawaii state epidemiologist Paul Effler said that the investigation “indicates that carrots by Gate Gourmet were the likely source. It doesn’t indicate that contamination occurred at Gate Gourmet or in the field where carrots were harvested or anywhere along the production chain. That’s what we don’t have.”

Changes at the Honolulu facility have resulted in a passing FDA inspection as of this week.