Please sign in to post.

Do fish oil capsules count as liquids for TSA purposes?

I'm afraid I can guess the answer, since fish oil clearly is liquid. But still I'm wondering if liquid medicinal capsules might not need to be in the 1-quart "liguids bag," since several people have said in various threads that their meds are never questioned. Of course all this only occurred to me after painstakingly making up little plastic bags for all my pills and supplements (morning and evening), of which there are many. So, I have 60-some small resealable bags with pills for a month, each with 2 large fish oil capsules.

We leave in one week; what an education all this planning has been. Thanks for any input.

Posted by
7165 posts

I recall buying some in Italy, so you can likely find some in Europe if they take them from you. I would ask the screener when you are lining up.

Posted by
22167 posts

Pills are pills and should not be a problem. No knowing what the Rx are you should probably carry copies of the Rx should a question be raised about your pills.

Posted by
388 posts

I don't believe they would be considered a liquid when they are in pill form. I would confirm this on the TSA website though (www.tsa.gov).

Posted by
9110 posts

They're pills. Keep them with other pills.

Posted by
11613 posts

Are they considered medicine or a food supplement? Does that make a difference?

Posted by
679 posts

Thanks everyone. The capsules in question are supplements, so I have no Rx for them. I've emailed TSA (thanks Abe for the idea), and will post their reply when it comes. If TSA forbids, that is that; but if it is a take-your-chances kind of thing, at the end of the day it would not be a catastrophe if I had to go into every little plastic bag and remove the capsules; just a hassle.

Posted by
679 posts

Here is the prompt, albeit canned (since it does not answer my question), response from the TSA:

"Passengers are allowed to bring medications in pill, powder or any other solid form through security screening checkpoints in unlimited amounts, as long as they are screened. The limit of one carry-on and one personal item (purse, briefcase or computer case) does not apply to medical supplies, equipment, mobility aids, and/or assistive devices carried by and/or used by a person with a disability.

Although medications are not subject to limitations, passengers are encouraged to limit the quantities they pack in their carry-on bags to what they will reasonably need for the duration of their itinerary, allowing for delays. Medications are not required to be in prescription bottles and may be transported in daily dose containers; however, States have individual laws regarding the labeling of prescription medication with which passengers need to comply. Therefore, TSA encourages individuals to carry medications in their original packing, with professionally printed labels or pharmaceutical labels. This recommendation is to assist travelers with the screening process.

Passengers should inform Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) of medications and separate them from other belongings before screening begins. TSA has created notification cards that travelers may use to inform TSOs about any disability, medical condition, or medical device that could affect security screening. Although these cards do not exempt anyone from security screening, their use may improve communication and help travelers discreetly notify TSOs of their conditions. This card can be found at
http://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/disability_notification_cards.pdf.

Medication is usually screened by x-ray, however, if a passenger does not want a medication x-rayed, he or she may ask for a visual inspection instead. This request must be made before screening begins, and passengers are responsible for displaying, handling, and repacking the medication if a visual inspection is requested. If the medication cannot be cleared visually, it will need to be x-rayed and may be subject to additional screening, including explosive trace detection screening."

Even though "daily dose containers" are OK, the best approach may be to replace the fish oil capsules in their plastic container, and "declare" that to TSA as an item to be x-rayed. It is hard to imagine that this would be confiscated, and even if it were, there would be no fiddling with all those bags to remove the oil capsules.

Posted by
1220 posts

For medical products, there's a 'reasonable quantities' exception to the three ounce rule. My four ounce bottle of contact lens solution goes past the TSA just fine as long as it's in its own clear Baggie and declared as such at screening.

Posted by
679 posts

selkie, thanks. My fish oil capsules probably weigh 5-6 ounces, so I'm glad to hear about the exemption.

Posted by
3 posts

I know this doesn't directly answer your question, but I wear daily disposable contact lenses and each lens is in an individual package with a little bit of saline solution and I've never put them into my 3-1-1 bag and it has never been an issue when I've traveled. So perhaps your fish oil capsules will be okay as well.

Posted by
679 posts

Nink, thanks. Yours is certainly a parallel case. At this point I'm feeling optimistic about the capsules being OK'd as a medical exception (or simply ignored, though I will put them next to the 3-1-1 bag); but in any event I'll post TSA responses on this thread.

Posted by
2508 posts

We have taken fish oil capsules in a pill bottle the last few trips, never questioned, never mentioned them. The bottle contains our trip supply of our various daily pills. We had a second bottle with aspirin, benadryl etc. Wife and I each had one bottle in our carry-on.

Also this anecdote regarding contact lens solution. The bottle was fine with TSA, they consider it a medicine. But when my sons connected ion Heathrow, BA security made them toss it. They had to buy it anew when they arrived in Germany. Same on return. Although all the flights were on BA, there were different rules in the US and overseas regarding contact this.

Posted by
679 posts

Reporting on the question from Europe (Brussels right now): Somehow I was put on a "pre-screened" list to go right by screening in the USA, so I still don't know how TSA would react; but when my bag was screened in London, no one raised an eyebrow at the jar full of capsules I left in it. I'll leave it at this, unless some future screening process turns out differently.