Ever since TSA really tightened their restrictions on liquids, pastes and gels, enacting the “3-1-1″ rule, there has been some confusion over whether or not certain food items are permitted to pass through airport security.
Most of us know you can’t bring liquids larger than 3.4 oz through security, but what about stuff like gravy and yogurt? Luckily, both the My TSA app and the TSA website allows you to search specific items, including food, to see if you’re allowed to bring it through security.
While the app is probably your best bet, Consumer Reports also specifies which foods are prohibited, which are allowed and which are allowed as long as they’re wrapped or in a container. For instance, you can bring cakes, bananas, apples, oranges, pretzels, chips and cookies. You can also bring firm cheese, burgers and sliced fruit, as long as they’re wrapped.
Then, there are the borderline items that aren’t quite solid, but aren’t fully liquid either. Examples of these include gravy, dips and spreads, hummus, ice cream, jams and jellies, wet pet food, salsa, soups and yogurt. Each of these follow the same rules as transporting liquids, meaning that you’re permitted to bring a maximum of 3.4 oz in your carry-on and bring it through security.
In case you’re curious, you are permitted to bring fresh (non-hardboiled) eggs through security, and in some cases, a live lobster. Per the TSA:
“A live lobster is allowed through security and must be transported in a clear, plastic, spill proof container. A TSA officer will visually inspect your lobster at the checkpoint. We recommend that you contact your airline to determine your airline’s policy on traveling with your lobster before arriving at the airport.”
Frozen food is another iffy area. If it’s frozen solid, you’re probably fine. But, if any of your frozen liquid items are partially melted, slushy or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet the TSA’s usual 3-1-1 liquids requirements.
If there are any foods you have questions about, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook. According to the TSA website, they “look forward to answering your questions, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET weekdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends/holidays.”
Again, these might be a no-brainer for frequent travelers, but it’s something to keep in mind if you buy a gift basket or some other souvenir to bring back home.