Investigators on two continents are trying to determine how needles made their way into sandwiches served aboard Delta Airlines flights from Amsterdam to the U.S., on Sunday July 15, 2012. The sandwiches were served to passengers on flights to Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Seattle. One passenger, on a flight to Minneapolis, was injured when the needle pierced the roof of his mouth.
After the needles were discovered, Delta officials ordered all flights from Amsterdam to stop serving the sandwiches. The airline is now serving sealed, prepackaged food instead of sandwiches. The government is testing the needles to see if they were contaminated with pathogens.
Dutch police have opened a criminal investigation as has the FBI office in Atlanta. Information from those investigations has yet to emerge, but speculation about the identity of the criminal responsible occupies a wide spectrum from disgruntled employee to terrorist.
The sandwiches were produced by Gate Gourmet, a Swiss company that is “the world’s largest independent provider of catering and provisioning services for airlines and railroads,” according to its website. The company does business in 28 countries on five continents, serving 305 million passenegers each year. Although it prepares food for 9,700 flights per day, tampering with food for other flights has not been reported.
“We take this matter very seriously. Gate Gourmet immediately launched a full investigation to determine the root cause of this disturbing incident, and we are treating this as a criminal act,” the company said in a statement.
Delta also released a statement saying, “Delta is taking this matter extremely seriously and is cooperating with local and federal authorities who are investigating the incident. Delta has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide onboard our aircraft.”