Needles were found in turkey sandwiches served to business class guests on four Delta Air Lines flights, travelling to the US from Amsterdam, on Sunday, the airline has admitted. More needles were found in sandwiches served on two flights to Atlanta and one each to Minneapolis and Seattle. A passenger on the flight to Minneapolis was injured as he attempted to eat the sandwich. Once alerted, the flight attendants served pizzas, instead of sandwiches, on other flights. According to Delta Air Line Inc., the needles appeared to be sewing needles and the authorities confessed to being alarmed over the matter.

"Delta is taking this matter extremely seriously and is cooperating with local and federal authorities who are investigating the incident," the Atlanta-based airline said in a statement on Monday. The airline added the sandwiches were supplied by caterer Gate Gourmet and they had taken necessary action for the safety of passengers on board.

"Delta has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide on board our aircraft," the statement continued.

Meanwhile, Gate Gourmet's spokesperson, Christina Ulosevich, said the company was equally concerned over the incidents.

"We take this matter very seriously, and we have launched our own full-scale investigation," she said in a statement, adding the organisation was "heightening our already stringent safety and security procedures, to prevent any recurrence".

According to the Gate Gourmet Web site, the caterer supplies about 250 million meals a year to about 120 airports around the globe. They claim to serve about 9,700 flights each day and Ulosevich said this was the first such incident. She added there was still no clue as to how the needles got into the sandwiches.

Although no links to terrorism have been found in the matter, the Atlanta office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has opened a criminal investigation into the issue, the Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, the Dutch police are also investigating how needles got into the sandwiches prepared at the Amsterdam kitchen of Gate Gourmet, according to AFP.