The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has denied it ordered HIV tests on sewing needles found in six turkey sandwiches on flights into the US, as investigations into the incident continue on both sides of the Atlantic.
A number of probes have been launched after reports emerged on 15 July 2012, that sewing needles were found in sandwiches served to six passengers on four US-bound Delta Airlines flights to Minneapolis, Atlanta and Seattle from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
The sandwiches were made in the Amsterdam kitchen of catering company Gate Gourmet, which has since removed all sandwiches from future flights out of Amsterdam.
Police in the Dutch capital, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Transport Security Administration (TSA) – a branch of the US Department of Homeland Security – have all launched investigations into what is being considered a “criminal act.”
US-based Delta Airlines and caterer Gate Gourmet have also launched investigations.
FoodProductionDaily.com approached Gate Gourmet and Delta Airlines about the incidents, but both parties declined to discuss the on-going investigation.
The FBI Atlanta division also declined to comment further on its investigation.
A spokesperson for the Georgia-based office did, however, dismiss claims that the Bureau was testing the discovered sewing needles for HIV, as suggested by several online reports.
The spokesperson claimed to be unaware of where the reports had come from.
The reports followed the claims of James Tongues, who was injured by a needle in one of the sabotaged sandwiches.
Tongues told ABC’s Good Morning America that he had been prescribed a course of newly-approved anti-HIV drugs, over concerns the needles may have been laced with the potentially lethal virus.
Gate Gourmet, which is one of the world’s largest providers of airline catering, confirmed that it has removed all sandwiches from future flights out of Amsterdam and launched a full internal investigation.
“We are treating this matter with the utmost importance and urgency and are working closely with local and federal authorities investigating this matter. We are treating the situation as a criminal act,” Gate Gourmet added.
When pressed on the progress of its on-going investigation, Gate Gourmet declined to comment further.
US-based Delta Airlines also confirmed that an investigation had been launched into the incident, adding that it was cooperating with authorities in both the US and the Netherlands and with Gate Gourmet.
“Delta is taking this matter extremely seriously and is cooperating with local and federal authorities who are investigating the incident. Delta has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide onboard our aircraft,” said the Delta Airlines statement.