TSA has become stricter ever since 9/11, and for good reasons too. From sharp objects and food to liquids, there’s a lot to keep in mind while packing your bags either to go on your trip or coming back from it. Although souvenirs such as keychains, home goods and material items can be brought to and from the U.S. without issues, when it comes to edible goods, the U.S. has restrictions on what can be taken through TSA—either in your carry-on or in your checked luggage. So if you are thinking to bring food with you, here’s a list of what is allowed and what isn’t allowed in your carry-on so that you don’t end up wasting money by having to throw it out at the airport.
The Yes List
• Any meats or cheeses that are sealed, especially ones that are vacuum-packaged. They can be packed in your carry-on or checked-in luggage. If any of the cheese is creamy, it has to be under 100 grams if you plan on carrying it onto the airplane.
• Dried spices are fine as long as they are sealed and labeled. If you buy something that’s without a label, you’ll have to be prepared to toss it out as TSA agents have to easily identify it to make sure it’s not something else.
• Anything that is dried and contains no liquid or sauce can be brought with you either on the plane or inside your checked luggage. This can be anything from nuts, fruits, vegetables and pasta to coffee beans, teas, chocolates and other dried sweets, as well as protein powder or other supplements in the form of powder.
• Cooked foods from parties or festivities in other states can be brought with you in either your carry-on or your checked luggage, as long as there are no sauces or liquids. This can be anything from turkey to apie or a cake.
• Eggs can be taken with you in your carry-on according to TSA, although why you may want to do so is beyond our knowledge! Note that the eggs have to be fresh and not cooked.
• Pizza and sandwiches can be taken with you in your carry-on although a pizza may be a little messy to pack unless it’s inside a sealed container.
The No List
• Alcohol above 70 percent and more than 5 liters is not allowed in either your carry-on or a checked bag. If you really want to purchase liquor to take back home, it’s always best to buy from Duty-Free.
• Canned food more than 100 grams has to be checked in, but don’t let that discourage you from bringing items from abroad as long as it’s not in your carry-on.
• Anything liquid more than 100 milliliters including honey, oil, vinegar, jelly, jam, spreads, salsa, nut butter, etc. have to be checked-in.
• Fruits, vegetables and meats can be questionable. Countries have different policies on what can come into and out of their countries, so it’s best to check beforehand. When entering mainland U.S., note that you have to declare such foods, which may result in extra security screening. You cannot bring these in carry-ons, but some as long as packaged accordingly, can enter into the U.S. via checked luggage.