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More airlines suspend use of onboard caterer after listeria detection

  • Earlier this month American Airlines said it suspended service from the supplier.
  • Delta, American and Virgin Australia are offering vouchers or working with other suppliers.
  • Gate Gourmet says listeria was detected in an area that is not used for food prep, such as floor drains.
Satoshi Kawase | Getty Images

Two more carriers, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Australia, have suspended service from an onboard catering facility in Los Angeles International Airport after it detected listeria there in a recent inspection.

Earlier this month American Airlines said it had halted deliveries from the Gate Gourmet facility after the bacteria was detected there.

Listeria, which can cause fever and diarrhea and can be fatal in some cases, was detected during a safety audit at the Los Angeles kitchen, Gate Gourmet said. The company said the traces of the bacteria were found in areas such as floor drains that do not come into contact with passenger food.

The Los Angeles airport facility is still open and operating, said Catherine Nugent, a Gate Gourmet spokeswoman.

"We can't comment on behalf of our customers, but we remain committed to delivering a safe and efficient service," she said.

Delta spokeswoman Catherine Sirna said the kitchen is in compliance with local and federal regulations but that the airline decided to suspend deliveries from the facility "out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our customers."

Onboard meals will remain the same, she said.

Gate Gourmet operates both hot and cold kitchens at LAX, and the former was where the listeria was detected, Sirna added. Delta is still sourcing cold food like cheese-and-fruit plates, as well as other supplies like napkins from the other facility, and is using a catering facility in San Francisco to supply other meals on board, she said.

A spokesperson for Virgin Australia said, "Over the coming days there will be limited catering available on flights from Los Angeles."

As an alternative it will offer vouchers to passengers to purchase food before the flight.