clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Airline Food Workers Claim Disgusting Conditions at LAX Kitchens

Just when you thought airplane food couldn’t get any worse…

Jay Berkowitz

Fun with union labor continues as Unite Here!, a group that represents airline food handlers, released their own independent report that reveals disturbing details about Los Angeles International Airport's (LAX) kitchens. The report surveyed 60 of the 600 employees who work at Flying Food Group's two LAX kitchens that deliver in-flight meals to airlines including Air France-KLM, British Airways, Japan Airlines, and Qantas.

The report states that more than half of the surveyed workers found evidence of insects or rodents in the kitchens. Four claimed that preparation dates were regularly changed, with others reporting that dirty or spoiled food is used to prepare the meals.

The Unite Here! report goes on to claim that hand soap was sometimes unavailable; 70 percent of workers reported coming to work sick; 87 percent witnessed pooling water on the ground, creating a breeding ground for pests; dishwashing machines regularly breaking down, forcing workers to wash dishes by hand, often without soap.

The report comes on the heels of a routine FDA inspection back in January

The report comes on the heels of a routine FDA inspection back in January that found dirty bathrooms and inadequately maintained machines used to control bacteria, problems which Paul A. Hall, the vice president for food safety and quality at Flying Food Group (FFG), acknowledged and fixed. No evidence of rodents was reported.

FFG, of course, disputes United Here!'s allegations, and in a statement to the New York Times explains, "We believe this is simply another example of labor union Unite Here making false allegations in a desperate attempt to disrupt our business and organize our employees through misinformation and falsehoods." The company also makes it known that there have been no reported findings of food-borne illnesses related to airline meals.

Thankfully, it is easy for LAX travelers to avoid in-flight meals altogether, thanks to serious improvements to the airport's dining options.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Los Angeles newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world