Delta Air Lines replaced gourmet sandwiches with prepackaged pizza in business class after several small needles were found in turkey sandwiches on four of its flights from Amsterdam to the US. The FBI has been called in and is investigating.
The airline said that the needles, not the hypodermic kind but apparently small sewing needles, were found in six sandwiches on four flights. One passenger flying to Minneapolis was jabbed, reportedly after biting into a needle, but declined medical attention. Other needles were discovered on two flights to Atlanta and one to Seattle.
The sandwiches were made in the Amsterdam kitchen of catering company Gate Gourmet. They were to be served to business class passengers. The airline has stepped up security for its meal production and has switched to using more prepackaged food while the investigation continues. As the chance of sewing needles finding their way accidentally into food is remote, sabotage is an obvious possibility.
Pizza came to the rescue after the needles were found, when the sandwiches had to be removed from the menu.
The airline says it is taking the matter “extremely seriously”.
“Delta has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide onboard our aircraft,” an issued statement said.
Gate Gourmet said it had no idea how the needles got into the sandwiches and had received no reports of anything similar affecting any other airline it serves out of Amsterdam. The caterer said it had launched its own full-scale probe.
Just last Thursday, a Delta flight from New York to Madrid turned back shortly after take-off when a federal air marshal sniffed out something suspicious in one of the plane’s toilets. No explosives were found, but investigators discovered two pieces of a drinking straw about an inch and a half long, with wires running through each, Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported.
Police are investigating the straws and wires as well as the needles.
Written by : Peter Needham