Sunday, December 27, 2009

Airport Food - how safe is it?

We got thinking about the SkyChefs thing and airline food, then we started thinking, what about the food sold at airports?
New discoveries have uncovered evidence that the food you're eating in airport terminals may not be much safer.
So, even before you get on the airplane with the SkyChef food, you may have to deal with the food at the terminal.

The food safety reports out of 800 restaurants at 10 national airports and have found hundreds of food safety violations.
We are talking about serious violations, which can make you sick, and the violations are common..
On the most recent inspection at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport there was at least one critical violation at 42% of its 57 restaurants. Reagan National Airport in Washington DC had 77% of its restaurants with violations.
The biggest offenders were grab-and-go sandwiches Some of those tasty sandwiches and other foods stored in refrigerators were above safe temperatures.
At the Detroit airport, salads at the Fuddruckers restaurant were stored at 60 degrees, it's suppose to be at 40 degrees.
Other violations occurred during food preparation, such as raw meats contaminating cooked foods.
At Reagan National Airport, a worker at Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar was observed handling raw chicken, and then preparing bread without changing gloves.
Spokespersons are just that,  they always spin the bad news into the best possible light.
So, this Reagan spokesperson states that it was likely an isolated incident.
Again with the rodent droppings, the presence of rat droppings at some establishments were also discovered.
New York’s JFK airport has been cited 11 times for the issue. Atlanta airport has been cited 12 times and now uses private inspectors to help with eliminating the problem.

But we are sure these were isolated incidents.
(sarcastically said by a Voodoo Kitchen spokesperson)

The National Restaurant Association says that the industry is committed to ensuring airport restaurant meals are safe for passengers. (blah blah, blah)
But here's some advice by Dr. Cynara Coomer for those who plan on eating at airport terminals.
"If you are buying cold food, make sure it feels cold and looks fresh -- otherwise move on. Make sure your food is well-prepared and cooked thoroughly enough to kill the bacteria. Try to eat foods that don't need to be stored at correct temperatures, and consider bringing your own food from home."

Restaurant inspections are conducted by local health departments. Airport restaurants' inspections can be looked up at these websites by searching for the name of a business or by searching for all inspections conducted at the airport's address or ZIP code.
Here's where to read inspection information for restaurants at the 10 airports examined by USA TODAY:
Charlotte Douglas International Airport:
Mecklenburg County inspection records
Search using the airport's address 5501 Josh Birmingham.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport:
Tarrant County inspection reports
Search using the airport's ZIP code 75261 .
Detroit Metro Airport:
Restaurant inspection data
Search for "Metro Airport" in the address field.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport:
Restaurants are inspected by the Clayton County Board of Health, which requires the reports be posted for customers to view at the restaurant.
Inspection information
JFK International Airport:
New York City health department inspection records
Search the airport's ZIP code 11430.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport:
Inspection reports
Search the airport's ZIP code 63145.
Los Angeles International Airport:
Inspection summaries
LAX restaurants can be found by searching for the airport's street name as "World Wy" and ZIP code 90045. Full inspection reports can be requested from the health department.
Miami International Airport:
Inspection violation summaries
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport:
Inspection summaries
Sea-Tac Airport restaurants can be found by searching for the airport's Zip code, 98158, or putting "Sea-Tac" in the address field.
Washington Reagan National Airport:
County restaurant inspection reports, including a link for the airport