American Airlines Ceases Use of Food Caterer That Detected Listeria at Facility

American Airlines officials at Los Angeles International Airport said Thursday that the airline has ceased using the services of one of its caterers after traces of listeria were found at its facility, although no illnesses have been reported due to the discovery.

The airline ceased using Gate Gourmet on Wednesday after trace amounts of listeria -- a bacteria that can cause a serious infection by eating food contaminated with it -- was found at its facility near LAX, although it was found on surfaces that do not come into contact with food, including the drains and places on the floor, American Airlines said.

"Gate Gourmet, which has also been cooperating with state and federal officials, immediately implemented a comprehensive corrective action plan to address this issue. American also brought in outside experts to review this plan, and monitor the ways that Gate Gourmet would address the listeria issues,'' American Airlines officials said in a statement.

"Based on our concerns over the progress of the action plan, we made the decision to suspend the use of catering from this location. While no reports of illness related to the LAX Gate Gourmet catering operation have been reported to American, out of an abundance of caution, we made this decision because we felt it was the right thing to do for our customers and team members,'' the airline said. "Although we use Gate Gourmet as a caterer in other locations, we currently do not have any information that suggests that listeria has been detected at any other facility.''

American Airlines also said it is trying to find alternate catering options, and customers who do not receive their standard catering service will be given an electronic travel voucher for use on a future flight.

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated that listeria was  found in catered food. The trace amounts were found at the catering facility, not in the food.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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