Friday, March 1, 2024

TSA: What Foods Can Be Carried Through Security Checkpoints


FAIRFAX COUNTY — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to screen more than 30 million passengers this Thanksgiving holiday.

The 12-day Thanksgiving holiday period kicked off this past Friday, Nov. 17, and concludes on Tuesday, Nov. 28, according to TSA. Historically, the three busiest travel days are the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward.

Before passengers agree to bring a family favorite food item to contribute to the Thanksgiving holiday table, TSA cautions it’s important to think about how you’re planning to transport if you are flying to spend the holiday with family or friends.

Most foods can be carried through a TSA checkpoint, it said, but there are some items that need to be transported in checked baggage.

If it’s a solid item, then it can go through a checkpoint, TSA explained, however, if you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, and it’s larger than 3.4 ounces, then it should go in a checked bag.

Food items often need some additional security screening, it said, so it is best to place those items in an easily accessible location of the carry-on when packing them and then remove those items from your bag and place them in a bin for screening at the checkpoint.

TSA added it is also important to remember food safety by storing the food properly while traveling to prevent foodborne illness. If you need to keep items cold during your trip, ice packs are permissible, but they must be frozen solid and not melted when they go through security screening. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also has recommendations on holiday food safety.

Thanksgiving foods that can be carried through a TSA checkpoint:

  • Baked goods. Homemade or store-bought pies, cakes, cookies, brownies and other sweet treats.
  • Meats. Turkey, chicken, ham, steak. Frozen, cooked or uncooked.
  • Stuffing. Cooked, uncooked, in a box or in a bag.
  • Casseroles. Traditional green beans and onion straws or something more exotic.
  • Mac ‘n Cheese. Cooked in a pan or traveling with the ingredients to cook it at your destination.
  • Fresh vegetables. Potatoes, yams, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beets, radishes, carrots, squash, greens.
  • Fresh fruit. Apples, pears, pineapple, lemons, limes, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, kiwi.
  • Candy.
  • Spices.
Items to be checked. (TSA)

Thanksgiving foods that should be carefully packed with your checked baggage:

  • Cranberry sauce. Homemade or canned are spreadable, so check them.
  • Gravy. Homemade or in a jar/can.
  • Wine, champagne, sparking apple cider.
  • Canned fruit or vegetables. It’s got liquid in the can, so check them.
  • Preserves, jams and jellies. They are spreadable, so best to check them.
  • Maple syrup.

If you are unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither, TSA recommends downloading the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Travelers can also ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA, or send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872)

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