High angle view of unrecognizable people passing side dishes during Thanksgiving dinner at dining table.

The Mandatory TSA Guide to Thanksgiving Foods You Definitely Can’t Fly With

Chances are, you’re traveling this Thanksgiving, and if you are, you’re probably flying. The TSA is expecting to screen millions of passengers over the holiday weekend. But what if your Turkey Day feast is potluck-style, and you need to bring an edible contribution on board with you? Well, you may be in luck…or you might not. It all depends on what the food you’re flying with is.

“Here’s some food for thought. 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,” the TSA said in a press release.

The agency released two lists of foods that can either be transported in checked luggage or carried onto the plane – and what they will and won’t allow might surprise you. No matter what the menu item is, the TSA recommends placing it in a clear plastic bag or another container. You’ll have to remove those items from your carry-on bag and put them in a bin for screening at the checkpoint.

We’ve created this handy-dandy guide to Thanksgiving foods you absolutely can’t fly with, but if you still have questions, you should check out the TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” search feature or tweet @AskTSA to find out if your specific food is allowed.

Without further ado, here’s what won’t be accompanying you as a carry-on item this Thanksgiving.

Cover Photo: skynesher (Getty Images)

That’s the bad news. The good news? There are a ton of food items you can pack in your carry-on, if you have the space and the inclination. Here they are, courtesy of the food-loving folks at the TSA:

  • Baked goods: Homemade or store-bought pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, and other sweet treats.
  • Meats: Turkey, chicken, ham, steak. Frozen, cooked or uncooked.
  • Stuffing: Cooked, uncooked, in a box or in a bag.
  • Casseroles: Traditional green beans and onion straws or something more exotic.
  • Mac ‘n Cheese: Cooked in a pan or traveling with the ingredients to cook it at your destination.
  • Fresh vegetables: Potatoes, yams, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beets, radishes, carrots, squash, greens.
  • Fresh fruit: Apples, pears, pineapple, lemons, limes, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, kiwi.
  • Candy.
  • Spices.

Happy, tasty travels, Mandatory readers!


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