Foodborne Illness Caused by Improper Food Handling

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May 31, 2018
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#1
On 4/11/18 my husband and I flew back from Tokyo's Narita Airport on Delta Airlines. My husband is a Platinum flyer so we used the Delta Sky Lounge for over 8+ hours due to a flight delay. Because of the delay I ended up eating lunch and dinner in the lounge. Both meals, I ate dry salad greens and crackers and water (my husband tried everything on the hot and cold bar but the salad). Once we were finally able to board our flight to Detroit, we ate another meal. My husband gave me his dry salad and a few grilled shrimp and I added it to my salad and gave him everything else I was served. I drank only water and black coffee on the flight. The flight was about 12 hours. By the time I reached Detroit I was violently ill with food poisoning. My husband became so worried he wanted to get a medic in the airport. I decided to go up to the Delta lounge and stay in the bathroom until the next leg of the flight to Orlando. My husband went to find Pepto and Imodium in the airport. I was able to board the flight (first class ticket) but spent the entire flight in and out of the bathroom vomiting, severe abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. My husband used the blanket bag to hold over my lap in case I couldn't make it to the bathroom. The following day (after arriving home in Orlando) my condition worsened and I was taken to my doctor where I had lab tests done and was prescribed various medications for E. Coli or Salmonella poisoning.

We reported the incident to Delta and they issued an incident report that they turned over to their insurance representative. Afterward the following email was sent to me:
We have been advised that you recently contacted Delta to report an incident involving the captioned flight. Due to the nature of your complaint, this matter has been forwarded to Delta’s insurance company, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (Allianz), for further handling. A representative from Allianz will be contacting you at an early date. If you have not been contacted within ten (10) days, please notify us via email at InsComm.Delta@delta.com.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Collier
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Risk Management Department
P.O. Box 20858
Atlanta, GA 30320-2858

After not hearing from them within 10 days, began to send them emails asking for the status of my complaint. I sent several emails and my husband and I called Delta several times to report that we had not heard from the Insurance company and that we wanted resolution to the bills and flight. Still no word other than the complaint is in the system and if we don't hear anything in a couple months to write a letter ?!?!

Additionally I felt it was extremely important to followup on this due to the recent outbreak of E. Coli from romaine in the US. in the event the Skylounge or flight recieved produce from the US / California . I also reported the incident to the CDC and the State Health Dept to assist in tracking down any other incidences. I am a former lab director and microbiologist and know the importance of reporting cases to aid in determining outbreaks and to protect others, especially infants and older adults. Both agencies responded quickly.

I would like to make a claim for my expenses etc. but can't get anywhere. Not sure who to call or how to get status on this issue.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,331
13,024
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
What an awful story! I’m sorry that you had to go through this and are being ignored.

It’s time to escalate your complaint to Delta executives. We have company contacts on top of our pages. Read the info on the contact page and start writing to the Executives one by one if you have already been in contact with the customer service email we show.

Let us know how you make out.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#3
On 4/11/18 my husband and I flew back from Tokyo's Narita Airport on Delta Airlines. My husband is a Platinum flyer so we used the Delta Sky Lounge for over 8+ hours due to a flight delay. Because of the delay I ended up eating lunch and dinner in the lounge. Both meals, I ate dry salad greens and crackers and water (my husband tried everything on the hot and cold bar but the salad). Once we were finally able to board our flight to Detroit, we ate another meal. My husband gave me his dry salad and a few grilled shrimp and I added it to my salad and gave him everything else I was served. I drank only water and black coffee on the flight. The flight was about 12 hours. By the time I reached Detroit I was violently ill with food poisoning. My husband became so worried he wanted to get a medic in the airport. I decided to go up to the Delta lounge and stay in the bathroom until the next leg of the flight to Orlando. My husband went to find Pepto and Imodium in the airport. I was able to board the flight (first class ticket) but spent the entire flight in and out of the bathroom vomiting, severe abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. My husband used the blanket bag to hold over my lap in case I couldn't make it to the bathroom. The following day (after arriving home in Orlando) my condition worsened and I was taken to my doctor where I had lab tests done and was prescribed various medications for E. Coli or Salmonella poisoning.

We reported the incident to Delta and they issued an incident report that they turned over to their insurance representative. Afterward the following email was sent to me:
We have been advised that you recently contacted Delta to report an incident involving the captioned flight. Due to the nature of your complaint, this matter has been forwarded to Delta’s insurance company, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (Allianz), for further handling. A representative from Allianz will be contacting you at an early date. If you have not been contacted within ten (10) days, please notify us via email at InsComm.Delta@delta.com.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Collier
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Risk Management Department
P.O. Box 20858
Atlanta, GA 30320-2858

After not hearing from them within 10 days, began to send them emails asking for the status of my complaint. I sent several emails and my husband and I called Delta several times to report that we had not heard from the Insurance company and that we wanted resolution to the bills and flight. Still no word other than the complaint is in the system and if we don't hear anything in a couple months to write a letter ?!?!

Additionally I felt it was extremely important to followup on this due to the recent outbreak of E. Coli from romaine in the US. in the event the Skylounge or flight recieved produce from the US / California . I also reported the incident to the CDC and the State Health Dept to assist in tracking down any other incidences. I am a former lab director and microbiologist and know the importance of reporting cases to aid in determining outbreaks and to protect others, especially infants and older adults. Both agencies responded quickly.

I would like to make a claim for my expenses etc. but can't get anywhere. Not sure who to call or how to get status on this issue.

Are you sure the contaminated food was provided by Delta? According to the FDA, the first symptoms of Salmonella occur 6-48 hours after consuming the contaminated food. For eColi, it's 24-72 hours. Maybe Allianz is investigating if there were any other reported illnesses from either the flight or Sky Lounge.

https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm103263.htm
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
Ugh misery. May I ask why you think it was the lettuce and not the shrimp? Catering is done at the departure airport. It is doubtful Japan is importing romaine from the USA — they have hothouses and Australia is closer.

I wonder if you should report this to the Japanese authorities.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
Did the dr ever confirm it was E. coli or salmonella? Is it possible that something eaten the day before made you sick? How much were the medical expenses and did you send that info to the risk management?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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6,778
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San Francisco
#6
This must have been a nightmare. The source of food poisoning is extremely hard to "prove". I'm sure Allianz is investigating, but there's no excuse for not keeping you informed. What expenses are you looking to recover? At the very least, Delta should award you enough miles for the value of a first-class O/W tix, just for your suffering.