"Safety is the highest priority of the airline industry. Our members safely transport two million people every day and safely serve millions more meals and beverages each year. Airlines have programs in place that provide multiple layers of protection to ensure that they and their catering providers are meeting or exceeding world food safety guidelines, and they work closely with government agencies to rigorously inspect catering and airport facilities, and work to promptly address any issues and ensure complete compliance."
International Flight Services Association's full statement to ABC News:
"The traveling public can be assured that meals served on airlines are safe for consumption. Members of the International Flight Services Association (IFSA), global professional association for airline and railway personnel, inflight and rail caterers and suppliers to the industry, place the security and safety of the traveling public as their absolute highest priority. The industry has a solid food safety record, which is evidenced by the hundreds of millions of meals that are safely prepared and served on travel routes each year. Airline catering facilities are highly regulated and frequently audited by local, regional and federal agencies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Airlines and caterers also have additional internal food safety protocols in place, that meet or exceed best practices in IFSA's World Food Safety Guidelines for Airline Catering, accepted by international airlines as the basic reference document for airline catering food safety."
Flying Food Group's full statement to ABC News:
"Flying Food Group (FFG) is 100 percent committed to a close collaboration with regulators and auditors to assure the safety and quality of nearly 300,000 meals we provide daily to customers.
"We welcome the opportunity to do what it takes to respond positively to their findings. They help us to continuously improve: we always want to do better, even when we are performing very well.
"The job of regulators is to identify any problems, and our job is to take their findings very seriously and respond proactively.
"We are celebrating our third decade of providing quality meals and snacks for our customers. Over the years, as regulations have evolved, we continue to partner with regulators to implement new guidelines.
"FFG Food Safety Oversight:
"--Work closely with all regulators to comply with regulatory findings
--Undergo continual customer and third-party audits
--Conduct regular internal food safety and quality audits
--Engage with international food safety organizations
--Response directed by global food safety expert Dr. Paul Hall
"International Food Safety Affiliations:
"FFG is the only airline catering company member of Institute of Food Safety and Health (IFSH). This consortium of FDA, industry, and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) addresses food safety/nutrition issues.
"FFG is the only airline catering company that is a Gold Level Sustaining Member of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). IAFP is the world's pre-eminent scientific organization dedicated to addressing the safety of our global food supply. Other IAFP Gold Sustaining members include Coca Cola, Heinz and Kraft Foods.
"Global Food Safety Expert Heads FFG FS & Q team:
"FFG VP of Food Safety & Quality Dr. Paul Hall heads FFG's 40-member Food Safety & Quality team, overseeing food safety and quality practices and guiding FFG towards internationally-recognized food safety certification. He joined FFG in August 2011. His credentials include:
1. Past President, International Association for Food Protection (IAFP)
2. Lifetime Achievement Award from IFSH (formerly National Center for Food Safety) for his food safety leadership and lifetime contributions across industry/ government/ academia
3. Over 30 years food safety & quality experience-top positions in food safety and/or microbiology with Kraft Foods Global, Con Agra Foods, Ralston Purina and Anheuser Bush Companies
4. Past President, American Society for Microbiology-Missouri Branch
1. FDA Form 483
"FFG is subject to ongoing federal, state and local health inspections, including inspections led by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). At the conclusion of a site inspection, an FDA inspector commonly presents a FDA Form 483 – List of Inspectional Observations. FFG takes every FDA observation on a Form 483 very seriously.
"FFG responds in a timely manner to every FDA observation
"FFG takes each FDA Form 483 observation very seriously
2. Single FDA Warning Letter
"You have asked about the single FDA Warning Letter related to issues at our Newark, NJ facility. It involved a disparity over interpretation of FDA's own Guidance Document for safe handling of seafood, plus some specific infrastructure issues.
"All immediate actions related to Newark facility's infrastructure issues have been completed.
"Interpretation points regarding FDA Seafood Guidance Document are resolved.
"Public health was never threatened by this difference in interpretation of the FDA Guidance Document.
3. Specific Form 483 Health Observations
"--All FDA observations have been addressed in a timely manner
--All immediate actions have been implemented
--Further planned actions are clearly communicated to FDA and are in progress with defined timelines for completion
No unresolved issues compromise product safety.
"We take every finding seriously and address each one in a timely manner. As regulations evolve, observations in FDA Form 483's serve as a valuable tool for continual improvement of food safety and quality at FFG.
"Thank you for this opportunity to respond to your inquiry. Food Safety is a Number One priority at Flying Food Group."
Southwest Airlines' full statement to ABC News:
"At Southwest Airlines, the Safety of our Customers and Employees is our highest priority. We work every day to provide a safe environment and an enjoyable experience. As part of this quest, Southwest Airlines works closely with all regulatory agencies and officials to ensure the highest quality of service and highest level of Safety. As with all airlines, our operation is regularly inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Interstate Travel Sanitation Inspectors.
"If concerns are raised during an inspection, we take immediate measures to react to the specific feedback. In addition, we continue to implement multiple layers of protection to ensure complete compliance to all regulations."