UPDATE: Another needle was found in an Air Canada sandwich during a July 30 flight from Vancouver to Toronto.
What appeared to be common sewing needles were found in at least four turkey sandwiches during inflight meal service Sunday aboard four different trans-Atlantic Delta Air Lines flights originating in Amsterdam.
One Passenger Injured, Declines Treatment
The needles were discovered by passengers and an Air Marshal, and one of those passengers aboard a flight to Minneapolis was actually injured by a needle but initially declined medical treatment. Another of the flights was headed to Seattle while two others flew to Atlanta.
UPDATE: According to CNN, one passenger identified as James Tonjes bit into a sandwich containing a needle which punctured the roof of his mouth; he described the object as about an inch long and that it looked like a sewing needle without an ‘eye’ or hole in it. Tonjes added he’s been placed on medication to prevent HIV.
Delta’s Catering Company Based in Amsterdam
Delta immediately stopped serving the sandwiches which reportedly were offered in business class, and ordered all of its other flights out of Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport to stop service as well. The food was prepared by a catering company called Gate Gourmet and all of the sandwiches originated at the company’s Amsterdam-based facility. Gate Gourmet also provides food for other airlines, but said it had not received any other reports of needle incidents. It is also ‘closely monitoring the situation’ and security at the food preparation site is said to have been strengthened.
FBI Investigates, Few Details Released
A special agent with the FBI in Atlanta - where Delta is headquartered – told CNN an investigation is underway, and authorities in the Netherlands are also involved. At this point, there has been no indication as to whether the needles in the sandwiches were the result of some kind of accident, or whether there was active tampering involved.
TSA Alerts Other Airlines
In the meantime, the Transportation Security Administration alerted all other U.S. airlines with flights from Amsterdam about the needle incidents – it is not clear if any of these serve Gate Gourmet offerings.
As for Delta, it is now serving sealed prepackaged food on its flights out of Schipol, but it is not clear where these meals originate.