We have “special” meals. Our crew meals are, by contract, allegedly the same as a first class meal, but in reality, they are nowhere close. After 35 years and at least 6 cases of food poisoning, other than in extreme and controlled circumstances I won’t consume a “crew meal.” I have no doubt that the kitchens are safe but, once the meal leaves the kitchen, all bets are off. The “chillers” on our airplanes rarely chill to a “safe” temperature of 41 degrees F. More often they range from 50F to 70F. I know because I’ve taken a restaurant grade thermometer and measured myself. When I have written them up, maintenance just “defers” them.
International meals are somewhat better, but still sorely lacking in quality. Before each flight I make sure that I am properly nourished and have with me enough “back up” food so that, if the crew meal is spoiled or inedible, I can survive until I get to the destination. You would think that this would be a high priority as blood sugar and proper nutrition are such a huge part of pilots’ lives and the safety of the flight is at stake but, after all, it does cost money to feed people properly.
Steve, 767 Captain, Major Carrier