Death By Airline Food: Family Sues for More Than $1 Million

If American Airlines was not troubled enough by financial woes, the family of a passenger who died after eating "airline food" on a flight between Barcelona and New York City is suing it and Sky Chefs for wrongful death.

They say that the food was contaminated with Clostridium perfringens bacteria.

According to the CDC, (C. perfringens) is a spore-forming gram-positive bacterium that is found in many environmental sources as well as in the intestines of humans and animals. It is commonly found on raw meat and poultry. It can survive in conditions with very little or no oxygen.

C. perfringens produces a toxin that causes illness, usually diarrhea, and is generally not dangerous except in the case of the very young or the elderly.

Unless other passengers on the same flight, or same day, reported similar symptoms of food poisoning, it may be problematical to prove that the bacterium was from the airline food. The man began to have physical problems after eating. Experts on food poisoning say that the onset of symptoms, was unusually fast.

It may also be difficult to prove that the bacterium caused, or contributed to decedent's death.

The passenger died of a heart attack, soon after arriving at his home in Miami.

A comment made about this case was: "It's rare to die of food poisoning; it's common to die of a heart attack".