The carriers join American in suspending their use of these facilities; Gate Gourmet says that food safety remains its highest priority.
Both Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines have halted their use of a Gate Gourmet catering unit at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) following trace findings of listeria at the facility. The decision made by these two carriers echoes that of American Airlines, which announced earlier this month that it had decided to suspend its use of the unit as a precautionary measure.
The discovery of listeria was made during the course of routine inspection of the facility, but the unit remains open and operational, Forbes reports.
Delta announced its decision on Monday in a statement, saying, “While the LAX kitchen where Delta’s food is prepared remains in compliance with local and federal regulations, Delta has temporarily adjusted catering operations so Gate Gourmet can take more aggressive actions to further improve food safety. This move is out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our customers.”
“Delta has made alternate catering arrangements so there is no interruption to its on-board food offerings,” it added.
American also explained that its decision to halt the use of these facilities was made out of “an abundance of caution.” Virgin Australia said that it would be making “alternative arrangements” for passengers, which involves providing travelers with food vouchers to allow them to purchase meals before boarding.
Speaking for Gate Gourmet, Catherine Nugent, the company’s global communications director, commented via e-mail that, “We reaffirm that our LAX facility is operating without restriction and continues to comply with all local and federal regulations.”
“When we identified the issue on non-food contact areas at our LAX catering kitchen, we immediately enacted our remediation cleaning protocols with an aggressive treatment and comprehensive testing plan. Independent food safety agencies have confirmed that our LAX airline catering facility fully complies with food safety regulations and we are not aware of any instance where passengers have been put at risk. Food safety is our highest priority,” she added.