In September of 2004, health agencies from many U.S. state and international health agencies began receiving reports that travelers who had recently traveled by air from Honolulu, Hawaii in late August of 2004 had tested positive for Shigella sonnei infections. An epidemiologic investigation commenced, and investigators soon determined that food served on several flights from the Honolulu airport was the source of the travelers’ illness.
Further investigation revealed that food produced by Gate Gourmet, an airline caterer, and served on several different airlines’ flights was the source of the outbreak. As a result, in February of 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the Gate Gourmet, Inc., facility located at 324 Rodgers Boulevard, Honolulu, Hawaii, which provides food and beverage service to various airlines at Honolulu Airport.
In a letter to Gate Gourmet headquarters, FDA noted: “The observations made during the inspection revealed that your facility is in violation of the Public Health Service Act and the Interstate Conveyance Sanitation regulations.” During the inspection, Gate Gourmet was cited for holding foods at improper temperatures, pest and virmin violations, equipment maintenance and cleanliness violations, and bare-hand contact with ready-to-serve items.
Marler Clark represented over a dozen people in claims against Gate Gourmet. Their claims were resolved in late 2006.