If you’ve been travelling recently, you may have noticed a new extra step in the security screening process that TSA agents are asking people to do: remove their food. Apparently, it’s because their detection systems can’t distinguish your vittles from a potential explosive or not.
Photo: Eric Chan // Flickr
According to the Washington Post, passengers at several airports have been asked to remove any food in their suitcases prior to security, just like you would a laptop or toiletries. While it’s okay to bring your own food into the airport, the high-tech scanners the TSA uses can set off false alerts on some of the organic compounds inside the snacks. This can lead to slower lines as an alert going off requires a manual bag search to identify the source.
The new food separation policy isn’t official TSA policy, but has been implemented by multiple airports as part of a recommendation. Some agents have even told travelers that the TSA may adopt it as actual rules in the near future, although the veracity of this claim is unclear.
Still, if you’re one of those people who likes to pack anything from protein bars to entire casseroles for your flight, just be aware that the TSA might have you take it all out so they can make sure it’s not an explosive.