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FDA Finds Problems in Airline Food

September 01, 1996|TIMES STAFF AND WIRES

Recent media reports about food handling problems aboard airliners have spotlighted a little-known fact: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regularly inspects food services of commercial airlines, foreign and domestic, that operate interstate.

Airline inspections over the last year and a half produced nine warning letters--the latest in August, FDA officials said. FDA spokeswoman Judith Foulke, in Washington, said that number is "about normal."

Among the problems cited: lack of hand-washing sinks at a Southwest Airlines food processing facility in Oakland; storage of meat and eggs at 62 to 64 degrees aboard a Continental flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Houston; and green mold in an ice machine at Aloha's Honolulu commissary.

"We have not had reports of injuries," Foulke said. "There's a possibility of public health problems, or we wouldn't have issued warnings. But the airlines are very good about correcting problems immediately."

The airlines cited were Aloha, American, America West, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, United and USAir. All said the problems have been corrected.

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