Two airlines drop hot food from LAX caterer hit by listeria

Two airlines drop hot food from LAX caterer hit by listeria

LOS ANGELES: Delta Air Lines and Virgin Australia have stopped serving hot meals from Gate Gourmet at Los Angeles International Airport after listeria bacteria were found in the caterer’s local kitchen.

Virgin Australia is giving passengers vouchers for food before their LAX flights and said that onboard food wil not be up to normal standards while it looks for other catering arrangements.

Delta said it still gets cheese and fruit plates and wraps that are prepared in another part of the LAX Gate Gourmet facility but is getting hot meals from another Gate Gourmet facility in California. Delta spokeswoman Catherine Sirna said on Tuesday the airline temporarily changed caterers so Gate Gourmet can be more aggressive in improving food safety.

American Airlines suspended service from Gate Gourmet at LAX two weeks ago.

Gate Gourmet spokeswoman Catherine Nugent said the listeria was not found on food-contact surfaces. She said the company launched a cleaning program and the LAX kitchen meets all local and federal food-safety regulations.

The federal government said about 1,600 people get sick from listeria each year. The bacteria can cause dangerous complications for pregnant women, including miscarriages and stillbirths.