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Rats On A Plane: Delta Warned About Rodents


First Posted: 04/20/11 12:57 PM ET Updated: 06/20/11 06:12 AM ET

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The next time you get on a plane, check under your seat for rodents.

Investigators for the Food and Drug Administration discovered rodent feces near the food-preparation area of a Delta jet parked at the airline's Atlanta headquarters during a routine inspection in early February. Though Delta officials fixed the problem, they did not give the agency an action plan for how the airline plans to prevent future infestations, prompting another tough letter from the FDA last week.

In addition to health hazards, the infestation could also endanger passengers since rats "are known to chew on wiring," Chad Artimovich, president of Atlanta Wildlife Solutions, LLC, told Bloomberg.

This is what the FDA wrote:

However, our investigator observed the following evidence of rodent activity on your aircraft:

• Approximately 8-11 rodent excreta pellets above the right door panel in the forward galley (G1) where food is prepared by flight personnel;

• Approximately 10-20 rodent excreta pellets above the left door panel in the forward galley (G1) where food is prepared by flight personnel;

• Approximately 9-15 rodent excreta pellets on the right aisle of the aircraft over seats C3-C7;

• Rodent excreta pellets (too numerous to count) in three areas in ceiling panels located in the middle cross over galley G2, which is directly over places where food and drinks are stored in the aircraft; and

• Mammalian urine in six areas on ceiling panels located in the middle cross over galley G2.

Our laboratory analysis of samples collected during the inspection confirmed the presence of rodent excreta pellets and rodent urine stains in the aircraft.

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