American Airlines is temporarily not serving food on some of its flights out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) due to a listeria outbreak in one of its catering kitchens.
Officials discovered the listeria a few weeks ago at a facility operated by Gate Gourmet, one of the three catering companies used by the airline, near LAX, according to Business Insider.
The airline said it is currently looking at securing alternative food service for flights out of L.A. Food service is expected to resume within seven to 10 days; until then, affected passengers will get vouchers from the airline.
"During food safety audits we were informed traces of listeria were found on surfaces that do not come into contact with food, including drains and floor surfaces," an American Airlines spokesperson told BI.
While there have been no reports of sick passengers, American Airlines decided to stop using Gate Gourmet just in case. "We were not satisfied with the cleanup efforts and decided to suspend food service out of the facility out of an abundance of caution," said the spokesperson.
In a statement to BI, Gate Gourmet said: "One of our customers notified us yesterday of their decision to temporarily suspend the catering services we provide at LAX. Food and passenger safety are our highest priorities. As part of routine inspections, we identified traces of listeria in non-food contact areas, primarily floor drains, at our LAX unit. Immediately and in accordance with our protocols, all floor drains and surrounding areas were immediately and aggressively treated."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,600 people are affected by listeria every year, with pregnant women particularly susceptible. Symptoms include fever and diarrhea.