The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a show-cause notice to IndiGo airlines for serving a sandwich contaminated with worms to a passenger on a Delhi-Mumbai flight. The passenger, a public health professional and dietician, shared a video of the incident on social media, sparking outrage and disgust among netizens.
Kushboo Gupta, who had pre-booked a vegetarian sandwich with her flight ticket, was shocked to find a live worm crawling inside her sandwich after taking a bite. She immediately informed the flight attendant, who offered to replace the sandwich with another item. However, Gupta alleged that the attendant continued to serve the same sandwiches to other passengers, including children and elderly, without informing them about the issue.
Gupta took to Instagram to share a video of the worm-infested sandwich, expressing her dismay at the airline’s compromised food quality and service standards. She also questioned the decision to serve the sandwiches despite knowing their questionable quality. She argued that a simple announcement could have protected passengers from potential infection.
“I will lodge an official complaint via email soon,” Gupta wrote in her post. She also said that she did not want any compensation or refund from the airline, but only an assurance that passenger health and safety should be their top priority.
IndiGo, which is India’s largest airline by market share, issued an official statement regarding the matter, extending apologies to the affected passenger and assuring the public that the matter is currently under thorough examination. The airline also said that it is working closely with its caterer to ensure appropriate corrective measures are taken.
“We want to emphasise our unwavering commitment to maintain the highest standards of food and beverage service on board,” the airline said. It also said that the crew had immediately ceased the service of the specific sandwich in question after being alerted by Gupta.
The FSSAI, which is the apex food regulator in India, took cognisance of the incident and issued a show-cause notice to IndiGo, asking it to explain why action should not be taken against it for serving unsafe food to passengers. The FSSAI also asked the airline to submit a detailed report on the incident, along with the corrective and preventive measures taken by it to avoid such incidents in future.
The FSSAI also warned the airline that if it fails to comply with the notice within 15 days, it may face legal action under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which may include suspension or cancellation of its licence, imposition of penalty, or prosecution.
The FSSAI also said that it will conduct surprise inspections of the catering units of IndiGo and other airlines to check their compliance with the food safety norms and standards.