Virgin Australia Suspends In-Flight Food Service Due to Listeria Scare

Written by Danielle Cullen on November 17, 2017

Virgin Australia passengers flying from LAX to Australia are being given vouchers to purchase food prior to boarding following a listeria scare with the airline’s food provider.

The in-flight catering company used by Virgin, Gate Gourmet, has had a number of airlines stop using it’s services after a recent inspection found traces of listeria at it’s facilities.

Airlines Response to Situation

Airlines that are known to have stopped using the Gate Gourmet service include Virgin Australia, Delta and American Airlines.

Virgin Australia are providing passengers with food vouchers as a temporary measure until alternative catering arrangements can be made.

Delta Airlines has confirmed that it’s sourcing hot meals from elsewhere but that it still receives fruit, cheese and wraps from Gate Gourmet as these items are produced in a different part of the facility.

And American Airlines have stated that they stopped using the LAX-based provider for online catering as early as 1st November.

Listeria Found During Routine Inspection

Gate Gourmet have confirmed that traces of listeria were found during a routine inspection but that no cases of listeriosis have occurred.

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 met all local and US food-safety regulations.

What is Listeria?

The term used for sickness caused by listeria is listeriosis. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, aches and pains. Less common symptoms are diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal cramps.

Listeriosis is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Whilst pregnant women may experience only mild food poisoning symptoms, listeriosis can result in miscarriage, premature birth or, in rare cases, stillbirth.

To learn more about listeria, visit A Lesson In Listeria – Everything You Need To Know published by the Australian Institute of Food Safety.