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TSA and snacks ****up date below

Flew out of Kansas city last week. Young TSA agent walking the line told us to" take out our snacks" along w 311 bag. I said "even dry snacks?" Thinking of my almonds and combos. He whirled... "I said SNACKS " okey doke.

Leaving Portland Oregon today, still with about 2 ounces of combos and one of almonds (managed to pace myself). No announcement was made.... but the middle aged woman ahead of me got pulled over to the naughty line and when I went by and checked out of the corner of my eye......(youngest child, I grew up monitoring the oh so interesting activity of teenage siblings).... the TSA agent was pulling out handfuls of individually wrapped rice crispy bars.
Let that be the lesson.

Posted by
19 posts

Sometimes I wonder what triggers their machines or minds...on a recent flight from St Louis to Europe, my bag was pulled aside to be searched. The culprit was a zip lock bag with individual packs of granola bars, nuts and fruit snacks. The TSA agent searched through everything and finally sent me on my way. At Newark I had to change terminals and go through security again, and it was a non-issue. I still had a few things left as well as similar items that I purchased in Europe and wasn't stopped in Berlin or Dublin.

Posted by
3491 posts

Neither Berlin or Dublin security is run by TSA. Thankfully foreign security checks are still mostly reasonable.

Posted by
849 posts

I usually carry a handful of energy bars in my personal carry-on. I often taken them out and place them in the tray with iPad, shoes, etc. No bottled liquids, of course. ONe time the pre-check folks asked to unload the small pack. I asked if I had packed something improperly, suspecting the bars were going to be problem. The young man said, “No, not a problem with your item. We just needed to check the image against the actual contents.” I put the bars back in my bag and marched on.

Pre-check is sooo cool.

Posted by
1277 posts

As we queued up, there was a sign with a jar of peanut butter, bottle of ice cream topping, etc
..... sign said These Are Too Big. Must fit in 311 bag (not..show Us your Food)

My friend who flew out earlier today was going to schlep along her leftover risotto from last night, I advised against it.
Lady next to me at gate just threw away 3 large solid sounding peaches
(See above note re monitoring

siblings and their standins)

Posted by
9718 posts

Time before last (so....a year ago in May) I got diverted to the "more screening" corner of our small airport. I had read about that possibility on here so had everything in a packing cube...except the just purchased sleeve of bagels. I mean...literally, I had stopped at the store on the way to the airport. The guy looked in the packing cube, handed it back to me and then looked at the sleeve of bagels and ran the little sponge over it that they use to detect explosives! He really did examine it thoroughly - turning it over and over. The lady ahead of me had a Tupperwear container of cookies she was taking to her grandchildren and they ran the explosives test on the container as well. She and I just looked at each other. Oh well.

This April when I flew to Paris - I mentioned snacks to the screener and he had me just leave them in my day pack. I thought they might get pulled on the other side but nope...

Doric, it's good to know your current experience!

Posted by
16883 posts

I don't think TSA is requiring flyers to throw out their non-liquid snacks, but sometimes want to see them if certain-density items are hard to recognize on the screen (hard to tell the difference between fig bars and C4 explosives, or whatever).

Posted by
315 posts

Explosive check on Metamucil, chuckle...chuckle. A prescription topical gel was checked for volume in Spain. Meds are not considered to go in your 3 1 1.

Posted by
3377 posts

Yep, as Laura mentioned upthread "TSA wants to keep us guessing." Four months ago we had a domestic flight to Maui. It was a first for us to remove any snacks from my personal carry-on bag. I had nuts and protein bar. Nothing was confiscated.

Posted by
21078 posts

The meds-separate-ftom-toiletries rule doesn't apply everywhere. If you're flying out of Heathrow all liquids and gels have to be in the 3-1-1 bag if not in your checked luggage.

Posted by
8632 posts

hard to tell the difference between fig bars and C4 explosives, or whatever).

Discovered Costco blueberry muffins resemble something that goes boom, so have them separate now.

Ground coffee will also get special treatment--- wife had it in 3 plastic bags and the instant she opened the 1st one the agent said 'thanks - you're good to go'.

Posted by
100 posts

Now that I have a young child, I always have snacks when we fly. EVERY TIME my bag gets checked because their machines can't see through the snacks, so they say. Even in the TSA Pre-check lane, pfftt. Now I've learned to keep them at the top of my bag so I can take them out and not get searched. It's my latest traveling pet peeve.

Posted by
4262 posts

I think its been about a year that TSA has been requiring that all food be taken out of carry on luggage. They don't take it away (unless its a liquid or paste or jell) but they want to check it all.

Posted by
996 posts

I've read multiple stories on multiple forums about what the TSA wants, food wise.

I've read a lot of different things. I have no reason to doubt what I've read. I also know that they yanked my other half out of the regular line and subjected his bag to massive, additional screening because of an apple and a banana on a domestic flight which was not headed to any state which monitors incoming fruit.

Even though I have TSA Pre-Check, I always pack my snacks in a separate plastic bag (same size as for 3-1-1 purposes) and put it at the top of my carryon bag. That way I can easily locate it if the day I'm flying it turns out to be necessary.

Wow. I had no idea snacks were getting scrutinized now. Searching for illegal drugs perhaps? I think smugglers used to use coffee grounds to "throw off" drug sniffing dogs. Maybe foil wrapped items mimic other things in the scanners. Maybe TSA agents are hungry and looking for their favorite foods. (Personally - I would confiscate peanut M&Ms and little Debbie nutty bars, chewy chocolate chip cookies.)

Posted by
12897 posts

I never show the TSA types my energy bars. They don't ask, I don't show. I carry 2 bars in the waist/fanny belt and a few more in the carry-on , all of which are in the bin to be scanned. Nothing has come of it., it all passes through without questions from TSA.

I don't carry a 311 bag. They don't see me holding that.

So far I've never experienced the above, not even close, my last experience with TSA is Sept 2018.

Posted by
1649 posts

We all have different experiences, lol.

My snacks in my carry on have not been removed for inspection in my travels. That is not to say, it won't happen sometime.

Posted by
2017 posts

This is the agency that has a 90 something percent failure rate when it comes to finding weapons. But boy they could find rice crispy treats

Why does that not make me feel any safer.

Security or theater, you decide

Posted by
8632 posts

This is the agency that has a 90 something percent failure rate when it comes to finding weapons.

Where does this statistic come from?

If it is not being found, how does one quantify how much is not found?

Posted by
136 posts

When I flew this May, powder substances were not allowed in a carry on. So, I left my instant coffee and oatmeal at home:)))
At The airport in Amsterdam when looking to buy a chewing gum, was told that they are no longer sold there due to security reasons.
Bought a pack of gum at the airport in Riga on the way to Dublin, no issues.

Posted by
31 posts

It was widely reported as 95% failure rate a few years back. I think it has since "improved" to 70-80%. They test them using undercover agents going through checkpoints with (I assume replica) weapons, explosives, and prohibited items to see if screeners can spot them on screen or with a pat down. They extrapolate that number of failures out to estimate what the failure rate is nationwide.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-0604-tsa-20150604-story.html

For food items I was told that the organic compounds in the food can set off the high-tech explosives screeners. Hence the extra inspection and swabbing of your food items if this happens to occur. It won't every time. I've personally gotten to the point where I have about 5 separate plastic grocery bags for all of the different items that I need to remove (3-1-1, food, electronics and chargers, small miscellany, shoes sometimes on the belt sometimes in a bin--all at their whim that day) and then reassemble everything back in my one bag when done. That way they are only tearing into the one specific bag that they need to see and not through all of the pockets and compartments of my carry on. I think that's about the best we can do.

Posted by
8117 posts

I pack food for my flights with Iceland Air and TSA in the US has never blinked an eye. Fruit, PBJ sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, potatoes, carrots.

Posted by
443 posts

I flew out of EWR with raisins, pumpkin seeds, protein bars, and a 3 oz bottle of maple syrup in my 3-1-1 bag - none of the food set off the explosive detector, but they looks really hard at the maple syrup (in a sealed, clear glass bottle that was in the shape of a maple leaf, no less). However, when we went through ORD a couple of years ago, we were swabbed for explosives b/c of our snacks.

It's really no biggie, but yes, it would be nice if TSA was up front with us about the erroneous explosives signatures.

Posted by
1820 posts

I always fly with granola bars, carrot sticks, those little snack packs of a tiny tin of hummus with crackers, an apple.
I've never (yet) been asked about them or had to remove them from my bag.
However, I do not fly into or through any US airports anymore, so I'm speaking about Canadian and European security.
TSA checks sound very strict.

Maybe TSA just likes rice crispy bars?
I have confidence in TSA. Most folks getting on airlines (like myself) don't have weapons. Others - check their guns and golf clubs. All kinds of things get confiscated like pocket knives. It's really tough to get a weapon on to a plane these days. I suppose a criminal could make something out of hard plastic. There's always some nut trying to beat the system.

Posted by
1277 posts

Also at Portland TSA check point were huge posters on various TSA employees.... meet Jonathan, degree in music theory, accompanies his church choir (photo of Jon sitting at piano in his USA uniform) meet Susan. Volunteers with rescued pit bulls...... etc. Interesting idea

Posted by
1857 posts

It has become somewhat of a ritual. My carry-on passes through the X-ray and I get called over to check my bagels. All OK with me.

Posted by
11832 posts

During my May trip, possibly earlier trips too, I noticed the domestic flights in Europe want your snacks to be pulled out of your bag - similar to liquids.

Generally, these rules begin with intelligence on current efforts by terrorists. I assume they get those from viewing social media conversations of those individuals/groups.

Probably it's overkill, but who can predict with certainty how much security is too much?

Posted by
8632 posts

with about 2 ounces of combos and one of almonds

"combos"..????

Posted by
1277 posts

Joe, I never claimed to be:"health focused ".... meets an important dietary requirement
.... crunchy and salty

Posted by
7609 posts

I posted about my experience with this last year after an April trip to the States. I was first of all annoyed at the checks (as I always have food, and have it squirreled away all OVER my bag, as some of it is for plane consumption, some may be something I am bringing home to share, etc.

The whole thing makes me absolutely crazy because after being asked to pull out my food in JFK and DCA on that trip, when departing back out of Tulsa (now armed with Mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies), I pre-emptivelynasked the agent if I was going to need to pull out the foodstuffs — and they responded to me as if I were an idiot for asking such a stupid question, why in the world would I have to pull food out of my bag, etc.

Which is to say, Jessica, I agree!!!

It's my latest traveling pet peeve.

Posted by
8632 posts

Joe, I never claimed to be:"health focused ".... meets an important dietary requirement
.... crunchy and salty

My query was because I have never seen Combos. Did not realize it was a brand name. ( So I hope it is obvious I was not making any comment about its health aspects..... salty crunch is a GOOD thing!)

Posted by
1277 posts

Joe , could be a regional distribution thing. Are about the size of the last segment of my pinky, just dense enough to not get smashed to bits. Perfect size for driving trips, also. I just rode Bolt bus from Seattle to Portland, I probably could have sold some bags!@@

Joe,
I never knew what combo.s were either until I moved from the MidWest to a rural Florida area. It's basically a short, stubby "stuffed" pretzel. There's different flavors. You can probably get them anywhere. Think gas station store junk food.

Posted by
12897 posts

Meet the various TSA employees..qualification-wise, .interesting.... still never got pulled over for anything.

Once I am with the bin going through the scanner and opting for the "pat down" (always avoided the peek-a-boo machine), I am finished or rather, "they" have dispensed with me.

The problem with back "pat-downs" is that the TSA workers never have enough time to thoroughly "pat" my neck and shoulder areas. This improvement would go a long way in enhancing security, public relations and relieving my chronic neck and shoulder aches.