Airlines will often offer passengers hot meals onboard free of charge that you can usually order when booking a flight. It usually consists of a small hot meal as well as some some salad and maybe some fruit. While passengers may think this is healthy, cabin crew have shared why it may not be and why they avoid plane food until they reach their destination.
On-board meals are usually held to strict safety standards as the risk of bacteria is greater in the air.
This is down to the lag time between preparation and serving according to airline food safety expert Jean Dible.
She says: “In the restaurant industry, food is cooked and served without delay.
“In the aviation industry, food is prepared at a catering company and then packed in insulated containers and trucked to airports to be put aboard the aircraft.”
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This means there is often a huge delay between the time food is prepared and the time passengers eat it meaning that bacteria can grow.
Also, the temperature can be difficult to control in the trucks meaning it can go off quicker.
Jean continues: “Incorrect holding temperatures is the number one reason for food-borne illness on a worldwide basis.”
The food safety expert reveals different foods that passengers should avoid while in the skies.
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Dairy products like ice cream and yoghurt can go off really quickly and bacteria like listeria can contaminate it.
Jean explains: “You can’t see anything — there’s no odor, nothing you can see. It’s invisible. And airline catering companies do not always dispose of food when they should.”
Fruits that can sometimes come with airline breakfasts may still look fresh but can be cut hours before departure.
This is a reason why airlines tend to use foods that last longer with added preservatives, making them even more unhealthy.
Not only does this make foods unhealthy due to bacteria that can grow, but also unhealthy in a way that includes a lot of added preservatives to make them last.
Science has also shown that eating a lot of fat and sugar in the air can leave people feeling bad.
Many experts recommend buying food at the airport terminal or waiting until you reach your destination.
Apparently cruising at such high altitude can make taste buds and sense of smell go numb compared to on ground.
While rice is not a common airline food, it can come with the main meal that the onboard service offers.
Rice can be one of the most bacteria ridden foods that when not handled correctly can make you very ill and cause food poisoning.
Common bacteria found in rice is Bacillus cereus which grows when the rice is cooled down or stored at the wrong temperature.
Other things that should be avoided onboard include ice, water, tea and coffee due to recent testing finding high levels of bacteria in the water tanks on several airlines.
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