The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that, over four years, they have counted more than 1,500 health violations relating to airlines and their outside food caterers - including food being prepared or stored in areas that are infested with mice, ants and cockroaches.
ABC News 20/20 obtained lists of recent health violation records from the FDA and discovered that 'significant' problems were found at a much higher rate among airlines than any other industries.
The health agency found evidence of mice on Delta planes, which the airline said was an isolated incident which was immediately resolved.
Records also showed that inspections of LSG Sky Chefs, the company that provides food to many airlines, revealed food facilities where ants were crawling over discarded food, along with flies, both dead and alive, and cockroaches.
In a statement, LSG Sky Chefs told 20/20: "As with any FDA inspection, documented observations are indicated on a 483 form and if observations are cited at our facilities we immediately review and correct. In two cases, the FDA 483 forms led to the issuing of warning letters that were immediately addressed by us to ensure complete FDA compliance."
In other companies, the FDA recorded health violations such as dirty cooking areas, old or mouldy products and employees not washing their hands.
At the facilities of Gate Gourmet, which serves many top airlines, inspectors found roaches, gnats, unrefrigerated food and utensils on dirty racks. The company told ABC 20/20: "None of the FDA's observations... indicated a threat to the health of the travelling public."
Add to this concerns about the high calorie content, not to mention high levels of fat and sodium, in airline meals and eating an inflight meal starts to look even less appetising than usual.
So perhaps the best option is to be prepared and pack your own food when you travel. At least then you can be sure that you're getting a healthy - and tasty - meal.
Click on the image below to see our gallery of weird food around the world...
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