Delta Warned Over Rat Droppings On Plane

Rodent droppings “too numerous to count” prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning letter to Delta following an inspection of its aircraft, said WXIA-11 TV of Atlanta, reported CNN. The inspection revealed “‘the presence of rodent excreta pellets and rodent urine stains’ near the food preparation and storage areas of one of the carrier’s planes,” CNN added.

According to MSNBC, the <"">food safety violations originated from “from an inspection (of a Delta plane) that took place between Jan. 26 and Feb. 2…. The inspection took place at a Delta hangar near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,” quoted CNN.

Although “Delta told the agency in late January it was taking actions to exterminate the rodent infestation on the aircraft,” quoted The Wall Street Journal, “the agency said the Delta response didn’t include actions the airline ‘is taking to prevent future rodent infestations,’” CNN quoted. The agency issued its warning letter on April 13, said CNN.

For its part, Delta said it cleaned the jet, returned it to service “within days,” quoted Bloomberg, and is—said Ashley Black of Delta—taking the issue with vermin “very seriously,” quoted CNN. Black added that the problem was resolved by “humanely catching the animal,” added CNN. The areas involved, said CNN, were in “the ceiling panels of the plane’s middle crossover galley, or directly over places where food and drinks are stored, according to the (FDA) letter,” quoted CNN.

Meanwhile, the FDA “asks Delta to outline the specific steps it has taken to correct the violations, including an explanation of how it plans to prevent them from happening again,” quoted CNN, which noted that Delta must respond by April 28th. “We believe a recurrence is likely without adequate preventive measures in place,” said John Gridley, director of the FDA’s Atlanta District Office, quoted CNN.

While food is a serious issue when it comes to vermin, Chad Artimovich, president of pest-control company Atlanta Wildlife Solutions LLC, told Bloomberg, “The real concern is if a rat started chewing on wires,” quoted CNN, pointing to other safety concerns.

But, foodborne illness is also a significant concern. Last year, we wrote about horrible food safety conditions at a number of airline food caterers. Following those reports, New York Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat) urged the FDA to implement more stringent health code policy enforcement. At the time, we wrote that FDA inspectors cited “numerous” catering facilities responsible for airline food preparation for suspected violations in health and sanitation following agency inspections of kitchens in 2009 and 2010 at 46 domestic facilities, said USA Today.

That FDA letter indicated that its inspectors found live and dead roaches in quantities also “too numerous to count” in a variety of kitchen areas that, shockingly included, no less that “40 live insects in the silverware station,” said the Associated Press (AP). Employees were seen touching food with either bare hands or while wearing dirty gloves, water was found dripping from the ceiling into areas in which utensils are cleaned, and holes in the facility’s walls were found that could easily be home for bugs and vermin, added the AP.

Last year, we also wrote about the issue of airline fumes sickening passengers and crew and that a variety of lawsuits have been filed over issues connected to fume events that have led to chronic illnesses, lethargy, tremors, chronic headaches, numbness, rashes, ears ringing, vision problem, and other neurological symptoms.

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