The FDA has informed Alaska Air Group that its Horizon Air subsidiary needs to stop serving ice with drinks until it installs hand-washing sinks in the bathrooms of its fleet of 52 Bombardier Q400 turboprops. Having employees was their hands in airport bathrooms and utilizing hand sanitizer is not enough according to the FDA.
“Directing your employees to wash their hands in the airport between flights or to use hand sanitizer does not meet the requirements for suitable lavatory facilities for food-handling employees. We recommend that you discontinue the use of ice and serve only food and beverages that are in closed containers,” the FDA wrote to Horizon.
The FDA warning gives Horizon 15 days to respond or the agency could pursue legal action if the issue is not remedied.
Alaska responded with the statement below and also promised that flight attendants would sanitize with “hospital-grade disinfectant” and then put on food-service gloves prior to pouring drinks.
“The safety and health of our customers and employees is our No. 1 priority. We are working with the FDA to revise our in-flight procedures to resolve its concerns. We plan to roll out more robust procedures on all Horizon flights next week,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.