View Full Version : Airline stops creamer and sweeterers due to anthrax scare

LTN man
20th Oct 2001, 09:58
As a precaution against a growing number of reports of suspected anthrax on its planes, Northwest Airlines said yesterday that it would no longer give passengers powdered coffee creamer or artificial sweeteners.

The decision came after three recent incidents in which powdery substances were found on Northwest planes, prompting calls to the authorities to test for anthrax.

"We did this to reduce the unnecessary delays and concern that false alarms relating to white powdery substances are causing our customers," said Kurt Ebenhoch, a spokesman for the airline.

In what appeared to be the most serious case, a powdery material that was found to contain a bacteria similar to anthrax was found Monday night in the cargo hold of a Northwest commuter flight from Detroit after it landed in Burlington, Vt.

Tests completed yesterday conclusively determined that the bacteria was not anthrax, health officials in Vermont said. But the earlier results had prompted health officials to recommend that more than 60 people — passengers, crew members and baggage handlers — who might have been exposed to the substance begin taking antibiotics. Officials have now advised those people to stop.

Nancy Erickson, a spokeswoman for the Vermont Department of Health, said the department did not know what the substance was because tests were conducted only for the presence of anthrax.

In another instance Monday night, passengers on a flight from New Orleans to Detroit were detained for more than an hour after the plane landed while tests were conducted on a substance inside the cabin that company officials now believe was food crumbs. The plane was held for another hour for inspection before it was returned to the airline for service.

Similar delays occurred last Saturday, when a powdery substance was found on soda cans in the galley of a plane flying to Houston from Minneapolis. After landing, passengers were detained for 90 minutes while investigators determined that the powder was a sugar substitute.

Mr. Ebenhoch said Northwest would still provide passengers sugar and salt with their meals because the crystals are more easily identifiable. He also said passengers would be allowed to bring their own sweeteners and creamers aboard.

"But we'd rather they didn't," he said. "We would discourage them to do so."

Several other airlines, including United and US Airways, have endured delays after reports of suspicious substances. But Northwest has been the only one so far to change its service as a result.

20th Oct 2001, 11:35
So the only good thing to come out of these acts of terrorism will be the end of those bŁoody awful sachets of chemicals and stupid plastic wands (which don't stir anything)? Back to real milk and sugar being offered? Excellent!! Can we have real spoons as well please?

20th Oct 2001, 14:06
QUOTE] He also said passengers would be allowed to bring their own sweeteners and creamers aboard.
Rather defeats the original intention??!! Better be carefully with your athlete's foot powder too!

20th Oct 2001, 14:52

I couldn't agree more! On a Northwest DC-10-40 from Kansai to Kuala Lumpur I got some coffee creamer and looked carefully at the list of ingredients. Amongst several rather complex chemicals I saw one I recognised instantly - silicon dioxide.

Silicon dioxide is sand, or quartz, to give it another name. I was expected to add sand to my coffee and drink it!

It was only tiredness that prevented me from summoning a flight attendant and asking her just why Northwest Airlines expected me to drink sand. Bring back real milk, and real spoons.

Bird Strike
20th Oct 2001, 15:31
I almost never use coffee creamers, and never use artificial sweetners anyway, so I'm not disappointed to be without them (I've never considered them to be a healthy option...).

As for the passengers being allowed to bring their own creamers and sweetners on board... There are sweetners in tablet form, and as the creamers normally have quite high calories and tend to contain some kind of dairy substance, I don't see any problem substituting that with real milk. Anyone who really want a milk substitute can bring soya milk on board :eek:

So why not ban passngers from bringing any powdery substance on board, apart from odour controlling powder (in the interest of the people sitting nearby)? :D :p

20th Oct 2001, 16:46
Fly on buzz - ask one of their charming young ladies for a cafetiere and a miniature Baileys. Add the contents of one to the other and forget about milk, sugar and - if you have enough of them - pretty well everything else!!

But you'll still need a spoon! Let's have a campaign to get rid of those stupid wands, double straw things and other useless devices!!

[ 20 October 2001: Message edited by: BEagle ]

20th Oct 2001, 19:28
Silicon Dioxide (silica) is used as an anti-caking agent, and is permitted up to 2% in food (usually ˝% in creamers, but don't worry about getting a cup full of sand, it is used to coat each grain of creamer (<10 nm thick coating)

21st Oct 2001, 07:35
Next thing you know they will be banning talcum powder and anything else white from planes - including sugar coated donuts.

If in doubt make up another rule - its easier than thinking

21st Oct 2001, 08:33
Speaking of talcum (baby) powder, I see that stuff which leaked from a diaper (nappy) bag on NW in Vermont was not a******. Seems the bacteria in the powder was ummm, something else.
Who'd have thought it ?

21st Oct 2001, 11:48
So does that mean the list of 'banned items' on airliners will gert even bigger? Let's see - it's now sharp objects, people wearing Bob Marley or Haile Selassie badges and T-shirts, white powder in any form, babies and their toxic by-products, people who wear turbans, people with suspicious beards, people with suspicious beards and turbans, people who don't answer the cabin crew's questions quickly enough, people who make other passengers 'uncomfortable', people who stand up too quickly when visiting the loo.....perhaps being in possession of an offensive wife, smelling of foreign food, wearing a loud shirt or complaining about being herded about for 3 hours prior to boarding should also be added to the list?

How long before it's easier to bring back ocean liners on the North Atlantic........

[ 21 October 2001: Message edited by: BEagle ]

21st Oct 2001, 12:34
One of the largest passenger liners ever built will be used solely for the "North Atlantic" route. I am of course referring to the "Queen Mary 2". Although instead of hours, it's now going to take 3 days...

Nice to see Concorde back in the air...

Just have to save for a ticket now... :D

[ 21 October 2001: Message edited by: SupremeSpod ]

21st Oct 2001, 12:39
:D , LOL but bang-on Beagle. Judging by the complete paranoia now enveloping our American cousins, you might be closer to future reality than you think. The American airline industry is now in a process of self destruction :( .

22nd Oct 2001, 15:13
Self destruction? Naw....the industry is just doing it's best Keystone Cops routine.