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Originally published Friday, November 16, 2012 at 9:11 AM

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A Thanksgiving meal, with the TSA’s blessing

Know what foodstuffs you can, and can’t, take through airport security.

Washington Post

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"Sweet potato casserole: Up in the air; it’s up to the officer." ... MORE


Aunt Bea may swoon over your cranberry sauce and homemade gravy, Thanksgiving Day staples that you plan to escort by plane to the annual family gathering. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), however, may not be as smitten. The agency puts the jiggly red side dish and liquidy brown accompaniment in the same category as toothpaste and shampoo. Neither one is allowed on board, unless you can squeeze the foodstuffs into 3.4-oz. bottles that fit inside a quart-size bag. Care for another squirt of turkey juice?

Before leaving for the airport, give your victuals the TSA Kitchen Test: If you can pour, pump, squeeze, spray or spill them, pack them in checked baggage or stash them in the fridge for your return.

For additional guidance, we assembled a Thanksgiving menu and asked the TSA to review the list, ticking off the items permitted through security and crossing off the ones that will never live to see Aunt Bea’s plate. The results:

Cranberry sauce (smooth or berry chunky): Check it or chuck it.

Pumpkin pie or any kind of custardy filling: All aboard (may require a closer look).

Gravy: Check it or chuck it.

Whipped cream (tub or can): Check it or chuck it.

Applesauce: Check it or chuck it.

Condiments such as mustard, salad dressing, chutney and jam: Check it or chuck it.

Sweet potato casserole: Up in the air; it’s up to the officer.

Pumpkin or cranberry bread: All aboard.

Pickled peaches, onions or peppers: Up in the air; it’s up to the officer.


Pre-security: Check it or chuck it.

Bought post-security: All aboard.

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