Delta’s ‘spoiled’ food snafu during record air travel meant scores of flights shifted to pasta-only meals

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A carbo-loading menu change was sparked in light of a Delta flight that was on its way to Amsterdam while carrying spoiled meals. 

After learning that the food was “spoiled,” according to People, Delta flight 136 was then diverted early Wednesday morning to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York after taking off from Detroit. 

“Delta’s Food Safety team has engaged our suppliers to immediately isolate the product and launch a thorough investigation into the incident,” a spokesperson told Fortune. “This is not the service Delta is known for and we sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay in their travels.”

It was a little late though, as some 70 passengers reportedly became sick, a source told CBS Detroit, adding that they stopped eating the chicken after feeling it “was really sour,” while others said black mold was on some of the meals. 

The spoiled food meant that about 75 international flights were only serving pasta on Wednesday and Thursday, an airline spokesperson told CNBC. 

But the pasta days are in the rearview mirror now. 

“We did adjust meal service on a few dozen flights as we worked with catering on reviewing quality assurance of meals. Today, we are ramping up to our normal everyday service,” the spokesperson told Fortune, adding they have no comment on CBS’ reports regarding the details of the spoiled food. 

The exact cause is unclear. Ash Dhokte, who leads onboarding service at the airline, wrote to staff that the company is looking into it and “immediate corrective actions have been implemented to avoid recurrence,” per CNBC.

This comes during a time of heightened travel. Almost 71 million people were projected to travel during the July 4 holiday week, according to AAA, adding most of these individuals will be driving. There’s a surge of air traffic too, as the Transportation Security Administration estimated that more than 3 million people will be checked for travel on Sunday in airports nationwide, marking a record high. 

Of course, airlines are still going through a bit of turbulence recently, having struggled to recover from pandemic-era staffing shortages. And holidays put extra pressure on an industry that is already in a pressure-cooker as it goes through a reckoning of sorts. 

Earlier this year, the FAA temporarily grounded certain Boeing 737 Max 9 planes after a door plug detached mid-flight on an Alaska Air plane. 

Separately, the Justice Department set a deadline for Boeing to plead guilty to criminal fraud in light of plane crashes that killed 336 people in 2018 and 2019. Some victim’s families asserted that the deal was letting Boeing go easy in light of the fatalities. “This is just a reworking of letting Boeing off the hook,” Nadia Milleron, mother of Samya Stumo who died in one of the crashes, told the Associated Press. 

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