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FDA writes up Horizon Air for no lavatory sinks on Bombardier turboprops

Horizon Air, the regional airline based in Seattle, is being given a choice by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Either find a way to install sinks in its fleet of 52 Bombardier Q400 turboprops or stop serving drinks with ice.

FDA sent the Alaska Air Group unit a warning letter on May 13, 2016 after multiple inspections since last December of its watering point, commissary, and lavatory serving facilities along with four of its 76-passenger turboprop planes at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

HorizonAir_406x250FDA shared its inspectional observations with Horizon Air on Jan. 8, 2016 and the regional airline responded adequately to all but one concern: no sinks in the lavatories.

“To comply with 21 CFR 1250.38, toilet and lavatory facilities of suitable design and construction shall be provided for use of food-handling employees, and hand washing facilities must include soap, sanitary towels, and hot and cold running water, or warm water in lieu of hot and cold running water,” the FDA warning letter says.

FDA said Horizon has acknowledged the Q400 aircraft were built without hand washing sinks in the lavatories. “Toilet facilities without accompanying proper hand-washing facilities available on aircraft for use by food service personnel can increase the potential spread of communicable disease.” writes Miriam R. Burbach, FDA’s Seattle district director.

Horizon told local media that flight attendants will soon begin using a hospital-grade disinfectant on their hands just before putting on gloves, which they will wear while pouring drinks, including those with ice. The company said the disinfectant is a “more robust” procedure.

The in-flight service menu on Horizon flights includes beer, wine, and sodas along with packaged snacks. Horizons serves airports in Washington, Oregon, and California along with Idaho, Montana and western Canada.

FDA has not said if the disinfectant is an acceptable substitute for sinks. The agency also noted Horizon aircraft that were subjected to inspection did not carry certificates of sanitary construction, which are suppose to be prominently posted.

Alaska Airlines is also a unit of the Seattle-based Alaska Air Group.

Also in May, a Michigan juice manufacturing facility that makes various flavors of apple cider received a warning letter over “significant deviations” turned up during an inspection last December. Seedling Enterprises, LLC in South Haven was told in the warning letter that it has not validated that the ultraviolet light treatment it is using will kill enough pertinent organisms.

The FDA warning letter to Seedling Enterprises goes on to detail numerous Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) violations.


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