Ignoring In-flight Food Safety Rules Is Dangerous

 - March 18, 2013, 12:30 PM
Airplanes are an imperfect place to prepare food and, as such, crew need to be especially alert to the danger of food poisoning, according to in-flight catering expert Paula Kraft.

Imagine a corporate aircraft cleaning crew discovering germs like E. coli, listeria, hepatitis and a few staph infections on the company airplane as they prepare it for the next trip? Paula Kraft, CEO of Atlanta Ga.-based Aviation Catering Consultants (ACC), conducted research on more than three dozen international airplanes (most of them U.S.-based) and found some of these germs on the control wheels, in the galley and in the lavatory.

The goal of the study, she told AIN, was to “create an awareness of the potential risks in preparing meals aboard an airplane,” an imperfect environment for handling food. Kraft said most of the problems stem from improper cleaning of interior surfaces and the fact that many more hands touch food before it’s consumed.

The Centers for Disease Control has identified 400 potential food-borne illnesses, Kraft said.

Flight crews, dispatchers, aircraft cleaners and FBO personnel need to be reminded that “bacteria can’t be seen, tasted or smelled. Aviation catering is a science not taught in culinary schools; it’s a fusion of experience, experimentation and feedback from flight crews,” she said. “We do need to look at everything we consume on an airplane and ask the right questions related to food safety.”