While airlines debate whether or not to serve peanuts to potentially allergic passengers, they apparently haven't been paying attention to what's being served up from their caterers. USA Today reports that many meals served by major airlines (including Delta, American, United, US Airways and Continental) “are prepared in unsanitary and unsafe conditions.”

How unsafe and unsanitary? Well, let's just say mice and cockroaches have been throwing some big fiestas in the catering companies' kitchens. Turn the page for more.

The newspaper requested inspection reports of major airline catering firms from the Food and Drug Administration under the Freedom of Information Act and found that the FDA has cited “numerous catering facilities of three major companies for suspected health and sanitation violations following inspections of their kitchens.” LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food Group were the companies cited for nasty kitchens.

Among the FDA's findings: food stored at improper temperatures, use of unclean equipment and workers who practice poor hygiene. At some airline food-prep facilities the FDA found flies, mice and other signs of “inadequate pest control.”

Of course, all three caterers told USA Today that they work hard to ensure their food is safe (and hasn't been nibbled on by mice, one presumes), using “multilayered quality-control standards” and “independent auditors.” Airlines told the newspaper that they monitor their food.

One hermetically sealed bag of peanuts, please.

LA Weekly