Meals on airplanes aren't known for their culinary prowess, but a few sandwiches that were served up on three Delta flights are straight out of the criminal cookbook.
Delta Airlines and the FBI are investigating after needles were found in multiple sandwiches served to passengers, including two aboard flight to Minneapolis.
Minneapolis-bound passenger Jim Tonjes of Plymouth, Minn., told FOX 9 News he felt a sharp poke when he bit into his sandwich.
"I took a bite and something stabbed me in the mouth," he recalled. "It was like a club sandwich, so you think, 'Oh, it was a toothpick in there and when it stuck me, it stuck me good in the mouth.'"
Tonjes soon found it was no toothpick. The needle stuck in his mouth, and once he pulled it out, he realized it was a straight needle about an inch long.
"It looked just like a sewing needle, but it didn't have an eye on one end," he explained.
His wasn't the only sandwich with the sharp intruder in it either. Within minutes, a second passenger found a similar needle buried in his sandwich as well. Once on the ground, investigators used X-rays on the remaining sandwiches and found a third needle.
Delta spokeswoman Kristin Baur said Tonjes declined medical attention, but he is taking medication as a precaution in case the needles were infected.
Baur told FOX 9 News that flight attendants on the Minneapolis-bound flight stopped serving the sandwiches immediately after the needle was discovered and passengers were transitioned to a pizza dinner.
After the discovery of the needles, messages were relayed to all Delta flight staff en route from Amsterdam, where the sandwiches were prepared by Dutch catering company Gate Gourmet.
Five other sandwiches were found to contain what appear to be sewing needles on Sunday flights. The other needles were found on flights to Atlanta, Boston and Seattle.
A criminal investigation into the incidents has been opened at the Atlanta FBI office, and Dutch police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport have opened their own criminal investigation.
"Delta is taking this matter extremely seriously and is cooperating with local and federal authorities who are investigating the incident. Delta has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide onboard our aircraft," the airline said in a written statement. "Delta requires all its in-flight caterers to adhere to strict criteria in order to offer our customers the very best onboard meals. The safety and security of our passengers and crew is Delta's number one priority."
There were no additional reports of similar incidents on any of the other airlines that Gate Gourmet serves out of Amsterdam, according to the caterer's spokeswoman, Christina Ulosevich.
Ulosevich said the company does not yet know how the needles got into the sandwiches.
Gate Gourmet issued a statement saying, "We take this matter very seriously, and we have launched our own full-scale investigation." It also said it was "heightening our already stringent safety and security procedures, to prevent any recurrence."
Baur said security for Delta meal production has been increased in the wake of the incident. The airline is using more pre-packaged food while the investigation continues.