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Travelling on a plane for extended periods without any snacks to munch on can make your journey feel like an eternity. If you’re looking to save some money by carrying your own food, it’s crucial to understand the guidelines for the kinds of sustenance you can take through the TSA checkpoint.
So, is it permissible to take food through TSA? The simple answer is yes, you’re allowed to bring food through security, as long as it satisfies the other screening requirements. However, you need to be cautious of liquid foods as they are closely monitored.
Before deciding to pack your own snacks or grab something delicious from the airport terminal, it’s essential to learn more about the kinds of foods and snacks that are allowed through TSA.
Food Rules Of TSA (Can You Bring Food Through TSA)
According to the TSA website, you are permitted to carry solid food items in both your checked baggage or carry-on bag. As for liquid and gel snacks, you can take them in your carry-on bag if they comply with the 3-1-1 rule. However, in checked bags, the size and quantity of liquids do not matter, although additional fees may apply for overweight bags.
The 3-1-1 rule implies that you can carry one quart-sized bag containing liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag through TSA screening. All items in the bag must be in travel-sized containers, with a maximum volume of 3.4 ounces (or 100 milliliters).
Some exceptions exist for certain items like breast milk, which is allowed in reasonable quantities. Here is a summary of the TSA rules regarding food items.
|Item||Allowed in carry-on?||Allowed in checked bag?|
|Alcoholic beverages||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Alcoholic beverages over 140 proof||No.||No.|
|Baby food||Yes (reasonable quantities).||Yes.|
|Baby formula||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Bottled water||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Breast milk||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Canned foods||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Creamy cheese||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Liquid chocolate||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Coffee grounds or beans||Yes.||Yes.|
|Coffee (liquid)||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Cooked meat, seafood and vegetables (no liquid)||Yes.||Yes.|
|Cookies and crackers||Yes.||Yes.|
|Creamy dips and spreads||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Fresh fruit and vegetables||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Fresh meat and seafood||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Frozen food||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Gel ice packs||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Gravy||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Honey||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Hummus||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Ice cream||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Jam/jelly||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Juice for baby||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Juices||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Live lobster||Maybe (check with airline).||Yes.|
|Maple syrup||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Oils and vinegars||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Peanut butter||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Solid pet food||Yes.||Yes.|
|Wet pet food||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Pies and cakes||Yes.||Yes.|
|Protein or energy powders||Yes.||Yes.|
|Salad dressing||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Salsa and sauces||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Sodas||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Soups||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
|Water for babies||Yes (special instructions).||Yes.|
|Yogurt||Yes (up to 3.4 ounces).||Yes.|
Whether you are going through the regular security line or expediting the process with a Clear or TSA PreCheck membership, the TSA food regulations apply to all travelers.
If you require additional information regarding the approved items, visit the TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” page.
Can you bring your own food through TSA?
You might have some snacks in your pantry that would be perfect for your next flight. If you are travelling domestically, you are allowed to carry solid snacks, as well as liquids or gels that meet the 3-1-1 rules mentioned above.
However, please note that specific items require special instructions. For example, passengers travelling from Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the contiguous U.S. cannot bring most fresh fruits and vegetables. Other items that require special instructions include:
- Baby formula
- Breast milk
- Fresh meat and seafood
- Frozen food
- Juice or water for a baby.
Can you bring open food through TSA?
If you’re snacking on some cheesy popcorn or a protein bar and you haven’t finished it before reaching the TSA checkpoint, don’t worry. You’re allowed to bring open food items through security, as long as they comply with the TSA food rules, including the 3-1-1 rule.
Moreover, you can also bring unopened, prepackaged, or sealed food items through TSA using the same guidelines and restrictions.
Can you bring fast food through TSA?
For those who enjoy quick meals such as hamburgers and chicken fingers, there is good news: you can bring fast food through TSA as well. However, it’s important to note that most fast food drinks may not be allowed, unless they are 3.4 ounces or smaller in size.
Can you bring baby food on a plane?
Breast milk and formula are categorized as medically necessary liquids by the TSA, which means that baby food is allowed in quantities that are deemed “reasonable” rather than being subject to the same limitations as other liquids. This includes formula, breast milk, and juice in amounts greater than 3.4 ounces, which don’t have to fit within a quart-sized bag because of their special status.
Parents traveling with baby food are requested by the TSA to remove these items from their carry-on bag for separate screening. Additionally, accessories such as ice packs, freezer packs, or frozen gel packs needed to cool baby food are allowed in your carry-on, regardless of the presence of breast milk.
If you’re wondering whether baby food pouches are allowed by the TSA, the answer is yes. Even if the pouches exceed 3.4 ounces in size, they are permitted due to the “reasonable quantities” exception mentioned above.
Can you bring alcohol through TSA?
If you’re wondering about the rules for carrying alcohol through TSA, it’s important to note that they differ depending on the alcohol’s strength.
For alcohol up to 70% alcohol by volume (or 140 proof), you’re allowed to bring containers that hold 3.4 ounces or less. However, these containers need to fit in a quart-sized bag.
But if the alcohol is over 70% alcohol by volume or over 140 proof, you’re not allowed to bring it through TSA.
Food That is Not Allowed in Carry-On Luggage
Bringing liquid or creamy snack items in a carry-on bag can be a bit of a challenge, particularly if you’re trying to adhere to the 3.4-ounce guidelines. Unfortunately, most full-sized containers of certain foods cannot be packed in a carry-on bag. These include:
- Creamy dips, spreads, and cheeses.
- Peanut butter.
- Salad dressings, oils, and vinegars.
- Salsas and other sauces.
- Any liquid drink, such as soda or coffee.
The good news is that many of these items are available for purchase once you pass through security, so you can still satisfy your cravings before boarding your flight.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. The author and publisher of this article make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this article and shall not be liable for any damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.