In a shocker, the United States Food and Drug Administration has discovered the presence of mice, ants and cockroaches in food served on airlines in the country.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Show '20/20' obtained lists of recent health violation records from the FDA, the agency in charge of inspecting airlines and their outside food caterers.
Over almost four years, the industry counted more than 1,500 health violations, the 'ABC News' reported.
'Significant' problems were found at a much higher rate than in other industries the FDA inspects, the agency said in a statement. Food facilities at LSG Sky Chefs, a major provider of airline food, were found to be infested with ants, dead and live flies, and cockroaches 'all over'.
"You can't have insect remains and feces of rodents and dead flies (in these areas)," former health inspector Roy Costa told the paper.
"You put that all together, and you have a time bomb," said Roy Costa, a food-industry consultant and former health inspector.
Roaches and gnats 'too numerous to count', unrefrigerated food and dirty areas were found at another catering company, Gate Gourmet. The company said it fixes any problems immediately and claims 'none of the FDA's observations... indicated a threat to the health of the travelling public'.
Meanwhile, mice were found on a Delta Airlines plane, which the airline said was an isolated incident. There were also incidents involving old or mouldy products and employees not washing their hands.
"This clearly was an isolated incident and we cooperated with the FDA immediately to resolve it immediately after it was brought to our attention," the airline said in a statement, according to the report.