Kitchen employees at the Imperial Hwy. facility could not guarantee that food marketed as halal did not
come into contact with haram(forbidden) or mushbooh (suspect) food products
In spite of policies and training programs that establish rules for halal compliance, a number of disturbing
violations of halal guidelines have occurred in a Flying Food Group catering kitchen servicing Etihad flights
out of Los Angeles.
Reported violations of these guidelines—which establish the foods Muslims are permitted to eat and how
they are to be prepared — at the kitchen included:
- Preparation of deep fried items, including french fries and kibbeh, in fryers used for general food
- preparation, including pork products;
- Comingling of halal and non-halal service items during preparation and washing, which was
- sometimes done without soap or proper sanitizing processes;
- Preparation, storage and transportation of non-halal food in areas and with equipment designated
- for halal use.
These reported violations may have resulted from working conditions and operational challenges within
Flying Food Group. Surveys of employees in one of the company's Los Angeles kitchens have raised
concerns about some employees' ability to work in a way that allows them to consistently protect
themselves and the passengers they serve.
The halal travel advisory comes on the heels of a June 9 New York Times article,
The rapid growth of three Middle Eastern airlines — Emirates, Etihad and Qatar — has increased
the demand for halal catering services at U.S. airports. In June 2014, Etihad Airlines selected Flying
Food to service its LAX to Abu Dhabi route — a 16-hour daily flight that can accommodate more than
85,000 passengers annually. As of June 2015, workers say that a dedicated halal kitchen for preparation
of Etihad's meals was still not operational.
UNITE HERE is a labor union with over 270,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. It represents over
33,000 workers in the airline concessions and catering industries.