Here’s A Big (Updated) List Of The Foods You Can Bring Through Airport Security

Image courtesy of quinn.anya

Inching your way through airport security is already a stressful and time-consuming process. The last thing you want to worry about is having that snack you packed to enjoy mid-flight thrown in the trash because of seemingly arbitrary rules on what can and can’t be carried through the checkpoint.

Nearly nine years ago, we published this list of foods you can and can’t get through airport security. While much of that information remains accurate, we thought it was time for an update.

Solid food items can be transported in either your carry-on or checked baggage, while liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not permitted in carry-on baggage and should be placed in checked baggage if possible, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The agency stipulates that food items brought through security must be either be whole, natural foods (like fruit or vegetables), or be in placed in a container or otherwise wrapped up (so no loose sandwiches or cheeseburgers in your bag, please; and you’ll have to get ketchup, mayo, or mustard packs after you get through the checkpoint). All foods will be X-rayed the same way as your bags, electronics, and other possessions.

If you’re debating whether or not a food item is allowed to be brought through security, the TSA offers an app in which passengers can search specific foods and food types.

So, specifically, what foods can you and can’t you bring through airport security?

Food Item Prohibited Allowed
Wine, liquor, and beer X
Creamy dips and spreads X
Gravy X
Jam X
Jellies X
Salad dressings X
Salsa X
Sauces X
Oils and vinegars  X
Soup  X
Yogurt  X
Cakes  X
Pies  X
Sandwiches*  X
Bananas  X
Apples  X
Oranges  X
Sliced Fruit*  X
Firm Cheese*  X
Meat  X
Candy  X
Gum  X
Granola Bars  X
Pretzels  X
Brownies X
Chips  X
Cookies  X
Pastries  X
Cheeseburger* X

* These items must be wrapped or in a container

Gift baskets that contain prohibited items are also not allowed to pass through security.

As for beverages and other liquid products purchased at Duty-Free stores, they are allowed on the first leg of your flight. However, these stores are typically located after security screening.

Additionally, even though an item is allowed to pass through security with you, doesn’t mean it won’t be given a once-over. For example, cakes and pies are permitted as carry-on items, but could require additional screening.

“Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns,” the TSA website states. “The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”

Again, just because an item is prohibited as carry-on doesn’t mean they have to go in the trash, they can still make the trip to your destination in a checked bag. Of course, if you’re already at the security checkpoint when you find out your jar of homemade gravy won’t make it through, it’s too late to check it.

And honestly, do you really want to take the chance that your grandma’s leftover gravy won’t spill all over your new sweater? Yum, sweater gravy.

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