TSA Issues New Warning About What You Can't Take Through Security
Don't get flagged for taking one of these items through a checkpoint this Thanksgiving.
The holiday travel season is in full swing, as many of us are packing up to visit loved ones near and far. If you need to fly to get home, however, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants you to remember certain things before going through security checkpoints. To keep the line moving smoothly—and avoid any security snafus—make sure that you don't have certain food items in your personal item or carry-on. Read on to find out which appetizers and entrées you need to leave at home or in a checked bag this Thanksgiving.
Over 30 million travelers will go through security in the next 12 days.
The TSA is gearing up for the busiest travel season in history—and during the Thanksgiving travel period, Nov. 17 to Nov. 28, over 30 million passengers are anticipated to be screened.
Ahead of the inevitable hustle and bustle, TSA has put out a new press release outlining the list of Thanksgiving foods you can't take through checkpoints.
"Before you agree to bring a family favorite food item to contribute to the Thanksgiving holiday table, it's important to think about how you're planning to transport it if you are flying to spend the holiday with family or friends," the release reads. "Most foods can be carried through a [TSA] checkpoint, but there are some items that will need to be transported in checked baggage."
Certain Thanksgiving foods can't come with you.
In general, the rule of thumb is that if you can "spill it, spread it, spray it, pump or pour it, and it's larger than 3.4 ounces," it's a liquid that needs to be transported in a checked bag.
These include Thanksgiving staples that you might not immediately think fall under this category. Cranberry sauce, for example, is spreadable (even if it's canned), so you need to check it. Gravy also can't come in your carry-on, and neither can maple syrup, preserves, jams, or jellies. And while canned fruits and vegetables may be primarily solid, they have liquid in the can, so they're a security no-no as well.
This might feel a bit more obvious, but your bottles of wine, champagne, and sparkling apple cider also need to be checked, even if they're sealed.
Solid foods are generally a safe bet for your carry-on.
Other Thanksgiving foods do get TSA's stamp of approval. Baked goods are safe, as are meats (frozen, cooked, or uncooked), stuffing, casseroles, and mac 'n cheese.
Unlike the canned variety, fresh vegetables can go through security, as can fresh fruit. Lastly, candy is typically good to go, as are spices.
(If you're coming to the U.S. mainland from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, however, you can't take most fresh fruits or vegetables with you at all "due to the risk of spreading invasive plant pests," per TSA's "What can I bring?" tool.)
There are a few other things to keep in mind.
If your food has to be kept cold, you might be bringing ice packs, too—but just be forewarned that they have to be frozen solid and not melted when you go through security.
You should also ensure that your food is stored properly to avoid foodborne illness, per TSA's recommendation. The agency points to recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for holiday food safety.
For any lingering questions on what you can and can't take through security, check out the "What can I bring?" feature, which allows you to search for specific items. You can also reach out to TSA directly on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA or by texting "Travel" to 275-872 (AskTSA).
- Source: https://www.tsa.gov/news/press/releases/2023/11/13/tsa-prepared-more-travelers-airport-security-checkpoints-expects
- Source: https://www.tsa.gov/news/press/releases/2023/11/15/tsa-prepared-thanksgiving-travel-and-dishes-what-foods-can-be
- Source: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all
- Source: https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/holiday-food-safety