Bringing food onboard for a long flight? You might be better off carrying it in your hand rather than stuffing your snack in your carry-on luggage.
The New York Times reports that US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners are increasingly pulling aside bags containing food items.
Some TSA agents believe that there’s a policy to hand-check all bags containing food. That’s incorrect, according to TSA spokesperson Mike England.
“There is no official policy which says that TSA agents must ask passengers to remove food from their bags. Rather, the policy is that officers have the right to ask passengers to remove food if they feel that it’s necessary.”
According to the agency’s website, “TSA officers may instruct travellers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.”
England added that some food items can resemble explosives in x-ray images.
Having to remove food items from bags prior to screening and being held up while bags are searched for food can be time consuming for travellers. Experts recommend travelling with as little food as possible in carry-on bags, and separating food items as you would toiletries for the purposes of security screening.