There are about a million (mostly bad) jokes about airline food, but if you're traveling over the next several days you might want to pack a lunch or take your chances on the plane.

It turns out the food served in airport eateries and grab-and-go stands are worse than what is served on the plane. And not just in terms of taste or nutrition.

According to USA Today, eating a sandwich from an airport restaurant could make you very sick. The article reports, "tuna salad and turkey sandwiches stored at dangerously warm temperatures, raw meat contaminating ready-to-eat foods, rat droppings and kitchens lacking soap for workers to wash hands." Delicious.
The usual humiliations of modern air travel are soul-crushing enough. The crowds, the endless lines at the security checkpoints culminating in the removal of everything from your shoes to your dignity, the lost luggage, the delays, the Hudson River landings.

That said, a new law will force airlines to let you off the plane if there's a delay on the runway, but you might be safer on the plane than roaming the terminal in search of a decent sandwich.

Rat droppings were discovered by inspectors on a dozen occasions at a restaurant inside Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Mice and other vermin were discovered at JFK. Meats were being stored at room temperature at a Fuddrucker's in the Detroit airport.

Of the restaurants at the Seattle airport , 42% were discovered to have one or more "critical" violations of food safety standards; 77% for the food at Reagan National in Washington, D.C.

So maybe it'd be a better idea to wrap up a leftover fruitcake or a slab of Christmas turkey and cram it into your pocket as you rush out the door on the way to your flight. This way, once you make it through the security screening -- you know, to keep you safe -- you won't have to worry about being attacked by food poisoning on the other side.

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