FDA investigators sent a warning letter to Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson after a routine inspection discovered rodent excreta pellets “too numerous to count” in ceiling tiles and near the food preparation area.
The inspection occurred sometime between January 26-February 2 in Atlanta, GA and located rodent poop throughout the plane. Delta immediately pulled the aircraft from service and resolved the issues “within days.”
“This clearly was an isolated incident and we cooperated with the FDA immediately to resolve it earlier this year,” said Delta’s director of communications, Ashley Black to ABC News.
An expert with Orkin Pest Control agreed the situation was extremely isolated, but still unacceptable. FDA regulations require any area that stores or prepares food must be kept free of rodents, flies or other vermin.
“Rodents usually have four ways they can come into an airplane: the airports, jet ways, food carts or food vending companies, and cargo,” said Ron Harrison of Orkin. “The challenge becomes a confined space like this, a perfect habitat for rodents.”
Rats can transmit over 35 diseases to human beings through their feces.
Read the warning letter here.