Delta Air Lines sandwiches containing needles prompt FBI to open international investigation
(CBS/AP) ATLANTA - The FBI is investigating the discovery of what appeared to be sewing needles in turkey sandwiches on Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States.
CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, a former assistant director of the FBI, reported on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday that the case has been assigned to the FBI office in Atlanta. Agents there are working with the FBI's legal attache in Amsterdam to coordinate with Dutch authorities.
The FBI can analyze the needles recovered from the sandwiches to try to find out their manufacturer, Miller reports.
The airline said the needles were found in five sandwiches on Sunday. One passenger on a flight to Minneapolis was injured, according to Delta spokeswoman Kristin Baur. The other needles were on two flights to Atlanta and one to Seattle.
Jim Tonjes of Plymouth, Minn., told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he felt a sharp poke in his mouth when he bit into his sandwich. He figured it was a toothpick, but instead pulled out a 1-inch needle that punctured the roof of his mouth. Tonjes was interviewed by the FBI and spent several hours in a hospital emergency room.
Jack Drogt of St. Paul told the newspaper he and his 16-year-old son, William, also found sewing needles in their sandwiches on the flight to Minneapolis.
The sandwiches were made in the Amsterdam kitchen of catering company Gate Gourmet, and were to be served to business class passengers on Delta flights.
The Transportation Security Administration said it's closely monitoring the situation. The agency said it immediately notified U.S. carriers with flights from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
Police there said they still do not know how the needles got into the sandwiches but are investigating.
Airport Police spokesman Robert van Kapel said Tuesday Dutch detectives are working on the case together with the airline and U.S. law enforcement authorities.
Baur said flight attendants stopped serving the sandwiches as soon as the needle was discovered. Messages went out to other flights en route from Amsterdam.
After the needles were found, passengers got pizza instead.
Baur said security for its meal production has been increased and it is using more prepackaged food while the investigation continues.
"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," the airline said in a written statement.
Gate Gourmet spokeswoman Christina Ulosevich said the company has gotten no reports of similar incidents on any of the other airlines it serves out of Amsterdam. She said the company did not yet know how the needles got into the sandwiches.
"We take this matter very seriously, and we have launched our own full-scale investigation," the company said in a statement, adding it was "heightening our already stringent safety and security procedures, to prevent any recurrence."
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