When organising the catering for a flight, the Flight Attendant must be aware that, from the moment the catering will be delivered to the airplane, the food safety becomes his/her responsibility. This is one of the most important aspects because it involves directly the health of crew and customers.
The responsibility of the food safety is even more in case the Flight Attendant is going for aircraft shopping: when she or he doesn’t order all the items by the catering but purchase part or all of them by him/herself. This often happen when customers want something specific from a restaurant or shop for example, or if the catering is on a tight budget and the Flight Attendant decides to get some perishable or diary food at the supermarket.
In case of shopping done by the flight attendant, food should be transported in cool bags with frozen bricks or dry ice to ensure lowest temperature fluctuation possible (cooling chain).
Items that hasn’t been properly handled, stored, or served may contain dangerous bacterias or allergens, which can cause illness or even death.
Symptoms of food poisoning can start immediately after the meal consumption, or up to 10 hours later. The symptoms can last from few hours to several days and they include upset stomach, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, fatigue, paleness, dehydration, sweating, and, in the worste cases, anaphylactic shock (airways get closed as a reaction of the body, the casualty can’t breath and go unconscious) due to the ingestion of an allergen.
In order to prevent food poisoning, keep always high standards of self and galley hygiene. Always wear disposable gloves when working in galley, check your catering and stow it properly, do not brake the cooling chain, do not re-freeze items which has been already defrost, check the temperature of the food using a food thermometer.