Monday, July 25, 2011

Quality and Safety of Food on Airplane

Quality and Safety of Food on Airplane
Serving quality airplane food is a logistical challenge. If the number or variety of meals needed is inaccurately calculated, customer dissatisfaction ensues.

Complicating this challenge is the large selection of speciality meals available including diabetic gluten-free, Hindu, kosher, lacto-ovo vegetarian, low fat, low sodium, Muslim, lactose free, vegan and vegetarian.

Despite the limitation of space, cooking technology, and cost, efforts are made to serve airline food consistent with a typical meal, especially on long flights encompassing one or more mealtimes.

Such a meal may consist of a main dish protein item, vegetable, starch, salad, roll and dessert.

A meal served in coach or economy class on a transoceanic United Airlines flight consisted of chicken breast with white sauce, broccoli, carrots, wild rice, crackers worth cheese, a salad, a roll and strawberry ice cream.

Airline food is tightly regulated and monitored to avoid highly allergenic foods as well as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety violations.

While not as critical, airlines also avoid particularly strong or potentially offensive foods such as raw onions and items like beans that are likely to cause flatulence.

As the airline industry strives for ever greater efficiency, aircraft are at the gate for increasingly short time periods. During this intensive period of refueling, cleaning, and aircraft maintenance, in flight caterers must be at the ready to load a well calculated number of meals, as well as snacks beverages, specialty meals and crew meals. All at proper temperatures for food safety.

Any misstep can cause a flight delay, and as timeliness ranks second only to passenger and crew safety in importance, a late caterer – or worse, one serving food that physically, chemically or biologically contaminated – can trigger millions of dollars in lawsuits lost revenue and lost contracts.
Quality and Safety of Food on Airplane

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