Find Out What Thanksgiving Foods Can Go Through TSA Checkpoints
Flying still comes with risks, and even more so now that new COVID-19 cases have been spiking around the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned Americans not to travel for the holidays and several states have issued limits on gatherings. But, more than 1 million air travelers passed through security checkpoints at U.S. airports Friday and Sunday. That’s only the second and third time that has happened since the pandemic began, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
If you plan to travel for Thanksgiving though, besides the usual precautions you need to take, you also need to brush up on some rules from the Transportation Security Administration. 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. Most foods can be carried through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint, but there are some items that will need to be transported in checked baggage.
“If it’s a solid item, then it can go through a checkpoint. 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, so TSA recommends placing those items in a clear plastic bag or other container when packing them at home and then removing those items from your carry-on bag and placing them in a bin for screening at the checkpoint.”
If you are still not sure how to proceed then you can check the TSA homepage, which has a helpful “What can I bring?” feature. Type in the item and find out if you can carry it through a checkpoint or if it should be checked. Another option is for passengers to tweet to @AskTSA to ask how best to travel with a specific food item. The TSA also provides some examples in its press release.
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
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.