TSA Agent Confiscates Cupcake On Grounds That Its Delicious Frosting Could Be Explosive

We’ve known desserts to be so tasty they’re downright dangerous, but one TSA agent in Las Vegas took that idea very literally, confiscating a cupcake for the possibility that its icing could be explosive.

The Associated Press says a Massachusetts woman had her cupcake taken by the Transportation Security Administration employee, because the frosting was “gel-like” enough to constitute a security risk.

Gels and liquids are restricted for passengers, with typical substances like toiletries limited to small quantities that must be placed in clear plastic zipped bags. However, the woman says she’d gone through security just fine at her starting point in Boston with two of the cupcakes packed in jars, and was only stopped on her return with one of them.

Lest you be worried about transporting your sweets, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez is looking into the cupcake snafu, as cakes and cupcakes are allowed to be taken through security checkpoints. Usually. Perhaps the agent has a sweet tooth?

*Thanks to Jared for the tip!

Mass. woman says TSA confiscated frosted cupcake [Associated Press]


Edit Your Comment

  1. MutantMonkey says:

    OMG, that looks like yellow cake! RUN!!!!

  2. 6T9 says:

    Be careful with this article, it’s an antique.

  3. gigwave says:
  4. Cat says:

    They should have arrested the cupcake and charged it with being “delicious, with malice and forethought”.

  5. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    That agent ate the cupcake. The TSA equivalent to bullies stealing lunch money in the 3rd grade.

  6. chizu says:

    I had my egg custard/flan (in its original sealed package) taken away from me due to “there’s a little liquid in there”. However, I managed to bring a couple slices of homemade cheesecake through, even though they had most definitely softened up a bit during security… It seems like all these rules are so… Arbitrary and totally up for interpretation… (Personally, I’d say the cheesecake was softer than the custard…)

    • crispyduck13 says:

      “…Arbitrary and totally up for interpretation…”

      You said it. Couple years ago I was traveling and was flagged by the dude running the bag scanner, they call over another agent (lady) who went through the bag. She pulled out my small tube of lip-gloss, holds it up to the guy and asks “is this what you called me over here for?”, he looks at her, says yes and shrugs. She gives him a stink-eye, puts my stuff back, returns my bag and tells me to have a nice day.

      Very arbitrary.

    • crackblind says:

      Many years ago (pre-TSA), I flew to London for a long weekend to see a friend (great fare on Virgin at the time). Basically packed a backpack and spent the weekend on a bender. My friend nicked a pub ashtray to give me as a souvenior & I bought a 4 pack of canned British Ale back with me (yes, you could carry that on the plane in those days).

      Needless to say, I looked like hell when I came home and must have rung every bell as I hit customs. The agent was obviously a newbie but figured if I matched a profile I had to have something. He went through my bag twice (I literally had a change of clothes and a book), tried to pry the rubber feet off the astray and kept tapping the cans (which, I grant him, definitely looked & felt much different than a can of Bud) to see if something besides beer could be hiding in them. Even in that state, I stopped myself from offering to pop one open and drink it right there to prove it.

      After about 15 minutes of this, someone who was obviously a supervisor came over and asked him what was up. He pulled her aside and whispered to her, obviously pointing out that I matched the profile of someone up to no good (which had very different connotations back then) and pointed out my suspect contraband. She looked at him, glanced over at me and told him I was a kid who’d had a good trip, it was an astray and a few cans of beer and he was being overzealous. She apologized to me (though noticeably shied away from shaking my hand) and waved me through.

  7. MaytagRepairman says:

    The TSA agent was later spotted with a cupcake wrapper and wiping himself with a napkin. Mouth still full, a “No Comment” was muffled.

  8. KrispyKrink says:

    It’s obvious the cupcake was stolen because the TSA douchecanoe wanted to eat it.

    Grand theft Cupcake!

  9. Marlin says:

    The cupcake is not like the photo above makes it seem.

    Look at the REAL story and you can see why they held it up.

    • pop top says:

      OK so it was in a jar and look weird. Why not swab the outside for residue, or remove a sample and test that and let her go on her way? Why take the entire thing?

    • Conformist138 says:

      Looks like that’s how they’re sold. Honestly, it’s too unusual not to be real. What terrorist is gonna say, “You know what is the perfect way to hide explosives? Jarred cupcakes with cute labels and names with silver spoons quaintly tied with twine! That is what normal Americans eat on planes, yes?”

    • duncanblackthorne says:

      Oh, bullshit.
      I’d’ve opened it, taken a HUGE bite of it in front of them, and told them to go to hell. They really want to believe I’d EAT explosives? Stupid.

    • Skwidspawn says:

      Indeed. It’s not a cupcake at all that was taken, it’s what would be better referred to as a “jarcake” or a “cake in a jar”.

  10. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    Cupcakes in jars? That seems odd. Were they her traveling companions?

  11. Harvey The Wonder Hamster says:

    Mifff Cufpcafke iff danferouff and fo I fad to confifcafe iff….

  12. FatLynn says:

    The gel/liquid prohibition is ridiculous to begin with, and based in no science whatsoever.

    That said, I see why “frosting” falls under the prohibition.

  13. James says:

    There’s an easy way around this at some airports: If they have multiple checkpoints which all lead to all gates just say you’re going to put it in your car, check it, whatever and go to another checkpoint. Since there’s zero consistency odds are you’re might find another TSA agent who’s fine with it.

    Time and patience permitting use their lack of continuity to your advantage.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Man I would not try that shit, I do not mess around at the airport. You think just because you leave that checkpoint they’re not still watching you somehow? And if you show up at the other point and the ‘whatever weird crap you have’ is put over their radio and the original agent hears it? I’m pretty sure you won’t be getting on your flight, or going anywhere else that day if you’re caught trying to re-enter an item through security.

      • James says:

        You’re overestimating their intelligence. I have done this with hair gel (that I accidentally left in my bag but didn’t want to discard.)

        If they really thought an item was truly dangerous it wouldn’t go into a big open garbage can next to the screening line anyway.

  14. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    But the real crime was that they cupcakes had wrappers on them.

  15. nicless says:

    So, woman takes 2 cupcakes with her on vacation. Manages to eat only one and then brings the other one back with her? I’m all for portioning out your sweets and not overeating, but maybe her 1 cupcake per vacation could be lifted.

    /not blaming the OP

    • HippieLawChick says:

      I thought that was odd myself.

    • Not Given says:

      She was visiting family and there were a lot of sweets available. She packed it in carry on instead of checked baggae because she was planning to eat it with hummis sandwichws for lunch. They let her keep the hummis.

  16. crispyduck13 says:

    Apparently the agent watched Family Guy for the first time the night before, unfortunately for this passenger it was the episode where Peter makes explosive frosting.

  17. quail says:

    Read this story or an eerily similar one on boingboing.net back in December. The thread running there came to the conclusion that she should have squished the cupcake in it’s bag.

    • Not Given says:

      It is the same one as boingboing, she also made a Facebook page for it. She was interviewed by papers and tv stations. I think the boingboing article and the Facebook page are the only ones she initiated.

  18. Necoras says:

    To be fair, any sufficiently sugary substance, when mixed with a potent oxidizer makes a fantastic explosive. This would include things like frosting, oreo cream, etc. Are things like ammonium perchlorate banned on airplanes? Or do you just get arrested for having any white powder on your person at an airport?

  19. Tokarev_Makarov says:

    I don’t understand why they don’t just have the passenger consume the suspicious food item to prove it’s not a toxin and/or an explosive.

  20. Mike says:

    That frosting could make your butt blow up until you have to buy new clothes.

  21. binder34 says:

    TSA once refuse to let me board with a cheese spread (similar to this: https://www.wisconsincheesemart.com/item/smokey-bacon-cheese-spread-rdP/) on the grounds that it was a liquid. I thought it was bogus but didn’t make a scene; instead, I called my dad over (he hadn’t left yet after dropping me off) and told him to take it home with him. No confiscation of my delicious cheese spread for that agent…

    • msbask says:

      They refused to let you bring on the plane, ostensibly to prevent you from injuring the hundreds of passengers. But they let you hand it to your father to carry back through the airport (which probably contains thousands of people at any one time)?

      My head hurts from this logic.

  22. dolemite says:

    “My lord….this birthday cake that says “Happy 50th Dad” has 50 fuses on it. EVERYONE DOWN!”
    /dives on cake with a splat.

  23. leylan says:

    He had to confiscate it; it was a dangerous threat….to his waistline.

  24. Cat says:

    Now, it’s quite simple to defend yourself against a woman armed with a cupcake. First of all you shoot her, forcing her to drop the cupcake; then, second, you eat the cupcake, thus disarming her. You have now rendered the deceased helpless.

    Suppose he’s got a dozen?

    Shut up!

    Suppose he’s got a pointed stick?

    Shut up!

    • pop top says:

      Ooh, ooh, ooh; want to learn how to defend yourself against pointed sticks, do we? Getting all high and mighty, eh? Fresh fruit not good enough for you, eh? Well let me tell you something my lad! When you’re walking home tonight and some great homicidal maniac comes after YOU with a bunch of loganberries, don’t come cryin’ to me!

      • Cat says:

        If anyone ever attacks you with loganberries, just pull the lever and the 16-ton weight will fall on top of him.

        • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

          No no. It’s the grand piano that falls when you pull the lever. The 16-ton weight falls when the rope unravels.

    • Cerne says:

      release the tiger!

  25. SilverBlade2k says:

    Maybe someone should bake ex-lax into cupcakes so that – when the TSA does take it (and will probably eat it), it WILL be explosive…and teach them not to mess with pastries :)

  26. evilpete says:

    Why hasn’t anyone pointed out that gels are not good for making binary explosives as it is almost impossible to mix a gel evenly with another component

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      You can’t use science to protect people’s dignity. You can only use science to inconvenience the public and harass them into submission.

  27. sendbillmoney says:

    Okay, so if I’m a collector of laxative-laced baked goods and they get confiscated by TSA as “possible explosives,” I have a reasonable expectation that TSA personnel wouldn’t eat a possible explosive and have no duty to warn them of the consequences of consumption. Right?

  28. longfeltwant says:

    Mmmm hmmm. The Transportation Security Assholes confiscated my cheese. That’s some good job protecting the skies, boys.

  29. smo0 says:

    Really? I sent this in WEEKS ago…. via the tip submission… wow….. you all must ignore that.

  30. learned says:

    TSA agent must have been hungry

  31. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Aren’t the new rules supposed to prevent crap like this? Or does it not apply to security theater? I thought one of them said that there would be more consistency in airport checks.

    • KrispyKrink says:

      Rule #1 in the TSA according to the DHS is that TSA gets to just make shit up anytime they want.

      If you show up with a printout of their own published rules, they call it bullshit.

  32. Cat says:

    Oh, I say, we are grand, aren’t we? ‘Oh, oh, no more buttered scones for me, mater. I’m off to play the grand piano’.

  33. PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

    So…is Jenny still locked up by the TSA? I presume that’s why she hasn’t commented…

  34. SquidNoMo says:

    Have you seen the size of some of the ToStupidforArby’s agents. We know where those cupcakes ended up.

  35. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    How are the American people supposed to trust their government to protect their life, liberty and property if it can’t distinguish between a bomb and delicious tarts? We’re supposed to trust these assholes with every aspect of our lives…right?

    How can we do that if they don’t show competency? Sure, this is a small thing, but if the gov can’t even get that right, what about everything else?

    All joking aside, it’s situations like this that erode any semblance of competency on the part of the government. My hand would be the first in the air for that vote of “no confidence.”

  36. josephpr says:

    I think the worst offender was the woman milking her “terror cupcake” story (I haven’t looked, but assume she will probably now have a blog about it and will be shopping around for a book deal).

    Second worst offender was TSA agent who passed a mason jar of some substance for cabin carry.

    An the only interesting part is why, when we now pack so light we have to decide the number of socks we can take, she is hauling glass jars with cupcakes all over the country.

  37. Not Given says:

    She was visiting family and there were a lot of sweets available. She packed it in carry on instead of checked baggage because she was planning to eat it with hummus sandwiches for lunch during a layover. They let her keep the hummus.

  38. Mimbla says:

    That’s funny… the Cake Wrecks blog that I read also recently had a TSA-themed post…

  39. The_IT_Crone says:

    You can’t bring in ANY food that looks like a gel. Let alone one in a jar! Showing pictures of regular cupcakes with these articles is really misleading- the actual thing looks more like pudding in a jar.

  40. impatientgirl says:

    She went from Boston to LV with two cupcakes in jars and returned home with 1 in a jar? Really? How odd…

  41. exconsumer says:

    The TSA in general and the Agent specifically already know that it isn’t explosive, as evidenced by their handling of the situaiton. Was the person who attempted to bring what may have been explosives past the security checkpoint arrested or investigated? No. Did the agent immediately remove the potentially explosive material from the airport? No. Did the agent call in an expert do deal with the potentially explosive material? No.

    Why? Because everyone knew it was not explosive.

    What do we do with things we know aren’t explosive? We allow them on planes.

    Problem solved.

  42. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    Confiscated for further review, no doubt.

    “Nom…nom…nom….okay, Ma’am…it appears okay. You may proceed.”

  43. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    This TSA agent that took the cupcake(s). Was he/she wide in the hips? Roooomy?

  44. Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

    It’s all security theater until they start doing body cavity searches. And full-body MRIs.

    Because putting a few hundred grams of contraband where the sun don’t shine makes a LOT more sense than than trying to disguise a couple grams as a cupcake.

    The TSA is an expensive, civil-rights destroying farce whose sole purpose is to provide a fig-leaf of ersatz “due diligence” to our bureaucrats and politicians. No other country insults the intelligence of its citizens with this kind of shoes-off, grope-grandma, steal-your-cupcakes all-for-show nonsense.

  45. oldwiz65 says:

    Definitely the TSA agent needed a sugar fix and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Why didn’t she just eat the cupcake?

    I am impressed with TSA..they grope kids when they feel like it…confiscate cupcakes when they are hungry…

  46. Halfabee says:

    Agent: All right, Cupcakes!

    Passengers: {sigh}

    Agent: We haven’t done them, have we? Right! Cupcakes! How to defend yourself against a man armed with a cupcake. Now you! Come at me with this cupcake. Now, it’s quite simple to defend yourself against a man armed with a cupcake. First of all, you force him to drop the cupcake. Then, second, you eat the cupcake, thus disarming him. You have now rendered him ‘elpless.

    2nd Passenger: Suppose he’s got a baker’s dozen.

    Agent: Shut up!

    3rd Passenger: Suppose he’s got a pointed stick.

    Agent: Shut up! Right! Now you, Mr Fondant.

    1st Passenger: Fulton.

    Agent: Sorry, Mr. Fult’n. Come at me with that cupcake. Hold it like that. That’s it. Now attack me with it. Come on! Come on! Come at me! Come at me then! (Shoots him.)

    1st Passenger: Aaagh! (dies.)

    Agent: Now, I eat the cupcake.

    2nd Passenger: You shot him!

    3rd Passenger: He’s dead!

    4th Passenger: He’s completely dead!

    Agent: I have now eaten the cupcake. The deceased, Mr Fondant, is now ‘elpless.

    2nd Passenger: You shot him. You shot him dead.

    Agent: Well, he was attacking me with a cupcake.

    3rd Passenger: But you told him to.

    Agent: Look, I’m only doing me job. I have to defend you from fresh baked goods.

    4th Passenger: And pointed sticks!

    Agent: Shut up!

    2nd Passenger: Suppose the cockpit is charged by a man with a cupcake and I haven’t got a gun?

    Agent: Duck under your seat.

    3rd Passenger: You could stand and scream for help.

    Agent: Yeah, you try that with a pineapple upside down cake crammed down your windpipe.

    3rd Passenger: A pineapple upside down cake ?

    Agent: Where? Where?

    3rd Passenger: No, I just said, “a pineapple upside down cake”.

    Agent: Oh! Phew! I thought my number was up on that one!

    3rd Passenger: What, on the pineapple upside down cake?

    Agent: Where? Where?

    3rd Passenger: No, I was just repeating it.

    Agent: Oh! Oh! I see. Right! Phew! Right! That’s cupcakes then. Now, eclairs!

  47. bkginsu says:

    *slow clap for TSA*

  48. JoeTaxpayer says:

    My toothpaste was confiscated. A 6oz tube that had enough left in it for one or two brushings. They unrolled it and pointed out the tube size is what mattered, not how much is in it.
    With that logic, an empty plastic jar that can hold over 3oz wouldn’t be allowed, or an empty thermos or hot water bottle. I’ve seen people stopped with all kinds of food, if it’s less than solid, it’s not getting on.

  49. jennybento says:

    JFK took my hummus a few years ago–possibly explosive AND middle eastern. clearly a terrorist dip.