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Dutch Police Join Investigation Into Needles Found In Delta Sandwiches

A Delta Air Lines jet being serviced last year by Gate Gourmet caterers in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
A Delta Air Lines jet being serviced last year by Gate Gourmet caterers in San Francisco.

"Police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport say they still do not know how needles got into turkey sandwiches on Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States, but are investigating," The Associated Press reports.

As The Wall Street Journal writes:

"What appeared to be sewing needles were found in sandwiches served in business-class cabins on four Delta Air Lines Inc. flights to the U.S. from Amsterdam on Sunday, the airline confirmed. A passenger on one of the flights was injured but declined medical treatment from paramedics after the plane landed in Minneapolis, Delta said."

The AP says the needles were found in five sandwiches — two on a flight to Minneapolis, one each on two separate flights to Atlanta and one on a flight to Seattle. The sandwiches were prepared by the catering company Gate Gourmet in its Amsterdam kitchens.

Jim Tonjes of Plymouth, Minn., tells the Star Tribune that he felt something sharp in his mouth after he bit into his sandwich:

"I figured it might be a toothpick," he said. Instead, he pulled out a 1-inch needle that had punctured the roof of his mouth. "It looked like a sewing needle but without an eye. ... I was in shock. I thought, 'Oh, my God.' It's the last thing you expect in a sandwich."

He was interviewed by the FBI after landing in Minneapolis and though he declined treatment at the airport, Tonjes later spent several hours being examined in a hospital. "I'm on strong medication for a month and will be monitored for up to 90 days for viral diseases — hepatitis and HIV," Tonjes told the newspaper.

Jack Drogt of St. Paul also bit into a needle, but was not injured, the Star Tribune says.

Delta says it is "taking this matter extremely seriously and is cooperating with local and federal authorities." Gate Gourmet says the same.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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