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Food For Thought

Nov 03 2023

TSA Approved Holiday Foods

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, togetherness, and of course, indulgent feasts. But what if your holiday plans involve taking to the skies to be with loved ones? Fret not! The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has got you covered with guidelines on what Thanksgiving foods you can, and should cautiously consider, bringing on your flight. So, before you pack your bags, let's dive into the delicious details!

What's a Go:

According to the TSA's website, "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."

Turkey/Ham/Chicken/Steak: Whether you've got a fully cooked or uncooked bird, the TSA gives the thumbs up for both checked and carry-on luggage. Just make sure it's well-sealed and properly packed to avoid unwanted spillage.

Stuffing/Dressing: Boxed or bagged, stuffing can tag along! It's okay for checked and carry-on bags. Ensure it's in a secure container.

Pies: Homemade or store-bought, pies are allowed in both checked and carry-on bags. If you're concerned about the pie's structural integrity, it's a good idea to bring it as a carry-on item and inform the TSA agents during screening.

Bread Rolls: Those soft, fluffy rolls are a go! Pop them into a resealable plastic bag to keep them looking their best.

Fruits and Veggies: Most fruits and vegetables can travel with you. Watch out for any liquid-based dishes or sauces they might be hiding in. If they're canned and you can hear liquid inside when shaken, check it with your luggage.

Cheese: Solid cheese is usually okay. But if you've got the creamy stuff or cheese spread, the 3.4-ounce liquid rule applies and the cheese should be kept in a quart-sized bag.

Spices: Spices are generally allowed to go through TSA. To make the security screening process smoother, consider placing your spices in a resealable plastic bag or a small container to prevent leaks or spills. It may be a good idea to label them or keep them in their original packaging for easier identification by TSA agents.

Cautious Considerations

Gravy: That savory, liquid gold called gravy can be a bit tricky. It often falls under the "liquids" category. If you can't part with it, consider freezing it before you pack or opt for powdered or dehydrated gravy mixes to save the day. Remember that any thawed liquid must remain at or below the liquid limit for it to go through screening.

Canned Cranberry Sauce: While the can itself is not an issue, the sauce inside may need some extra attention during screening. To avoid delays, it's wise to keep it in your checked luggage. Canned or not, cranberry sauce is considered a liquid, so stick to the 3.4 ounces or less rule. If you have homemade cranberry sauce, place it in a quart-sized, resealable bag.

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy or chunky, mashed potatoes are usually okay to pack. Just like with stuffing, a secure container is your friend to prevent any mishaps. If you have more than 3.4 ounces (and let's be honest, you probably do if you're bringing some with you), check it with your luggage.

Homemade Jellies and Jams: Small amounts of homemade jellies or jams are usually allowed in your carry-on bag. But remember, they must meet the liquid regulations. If you're concerned, consider buying them at your destination or pack them in with your checked luggage.

When it comes to Thanksgiving travel, being in the know is the key to a trouble-free experience. Always double-check the latest TSA guidelines, as rules can change. And remember, if you're unsure about any particular item, it never hurts to reach out to the TSA directly for clarification. 

Travelers have the option to access the TSA's website and use the "What Can I Bring?" tool to check if it's okay to bring certain foods in your carry-on bag. If you can't find the answer, it's a good idea to put the food in your checked bag or consider shipping it in the mail to make sure you're following the rules.

In summary, with careful planning and a hearty helping of TSA knowledge, you can bring your favorite Thanksgiving foods to share with your loved ones, no matter where the festivities take you.


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