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Food safety: top priority for KLM catering
KLM caterers recently won no less than six of the nine Medina Quality Awards. A major focus of these prizes is food safety. The awards come as a result of the strict checks KLM imposes on its caterers.
KLM only works with caterers that meet the Medina Quality Food Assurance Services audit standards. KLM and KLM Cityhopper meals are tested everyday. The Canadian company, Medina, carries out audits worldwide and its specialisations include testing the quality of in-flight airline meals.
The audit standards used by Medina are set by a technical board. Many airlines are represented on this board, including Air France-KLM, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and Korean Air. Among the points on the food processing & safety checklist are:
- Hygiene, training and work procedures for personnel
- Testing of incoming food for food safety
- Procedures for food storage
- Procedures for food safety during food preparation
- Procedures for cleaning equipment, buildings and for waste processing
- Procedures for transporting food to aircraft
KLM receives a report of every audit. An e-audit is also regularly carried out in the form of a fictional complaint to the caterer. How the caterer handles the complaint is carefully examined. The catering company has to show how it traces, step by step, where something went wrong, a process which immediately shows how the company safeguards quality.
KLM only works with companies that produce a reliable catering product. Safety checks are incorporated into the entire production process and audit findings are discussed with the caterer. Random checks are also carried out by sending meals to the KLM Catering Services (KCS) laboratory, where they are subjected to microbiological tests and quality checks.
If, despite all these proactive controls, something should still go wrong with a meal, it is photographed, placed in special packaging designed for this purpose and kept in the fridge for the rest of the flight. The meal is then sent to the KCS laboratory for analysis.