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Taking Food through Airport Security: Here’s What’ Important

Food through Security Checkpoint

 

 

Are you allowed to take food through airport security?

Yes, it is generally possible to bring food through the security check. As the name suggests, security checks are primarily about safety issues. So you can bring food like bread, chocolate and even meat through airport security.

As long as you are travelling within the EU, there are almost no restrictions for the transport of foodstuffs. 

However, if you are traveling outside of the EU, especially to/from third countries, you will have to take many import and export regulations into account, as there are many restrictions & bans on different foodstuffs in this case. These restrictions will, however, not prevent you from bringing these foods through the security check but will pose a problem at customs at the airport of arrival. 

 

What about drinks?

As far as the carriage of drinks is concerned, there are very strict rules to be observed. Since many years, liquids are only permitted in very limited quantities in hand luggage. In general, the following rules apply to all liquids that you bring through security:

  • Each container with liquid may hold a maximum of 100 ml
  • These containers must be stored in a plastic bag for liquids
  • This bag may have a maximum capacity of one liter
  • The bag must also be transparent and resealable
  • Only one such bag per person is allowed

Open beverages may not be brought through the security check at all. However, you are allowed to bring empty bottles through security. 

 

Exceptions:

Liquid baby food and liquid medication needed during the flight are excluded from the rule for liquids in hand luggage.

You may therefore also bring these products on board in quantities greater than 100 ml per container as long as they are intended for use on board. You must also have a medical certificate for such medicines. This medical certificate may be checked at check-in or at the security checkpoint.

 

Which foods cause the most problems?

As we have already seen in this article, food is usually not a problem at the security checkpoint.

Food, however, can get you in trouble at customs in the destination country. 

 

Be very careful at customs

In general, there are very strict rules for milk and meat products and generally for products of animal origin. The import into the EU of these products is forbidden. Import in this context means, for example, importing meat from a third country into the EU.

There are also restrictions for the import & export of many fruits & vegetables, such as mangos & potatoes.

If you are travelling to the UK, you can find the restrictions and exceptions for foodstuffs here.

 

The destination is key

As we have seen earlier in this article, many foods may indeed be taken on the plane and will not be confiscated at the security checkpoint. The most important question in this context is:

From where to where are you actually travelling?

This question is absolutely key because the place of departure and destination ultimately decide which food you are allowed to carry and which you are not.

So let us have a closer look at this:

 

TRAVELLING WITHIN THE EU

 

If you are travelling within the EU, let’s say you are travelling from Spain to the UK, you can basically bring any fresh foodstuffs including fruits, vegetables, meat & dairy products and other animal products such as fish, eggs, and honey.

If you arrive from a EU country, you do not need to pay duty or tax on goods, as long as you transport them by yourself, use them by yourself (or give them away as a gift) or have paid duty and tax in the country you originally purchased the goods. 

 

TRAVELLING FROM OUTSIDE THE EU TO A EU COUNTRY

 

If you are travelling from outside the EU into a EU country, there are very strict rules about importing food products.

The most important rules are:

BANNED ITEMS:

  • All kinds of meat and all meat products are banned
  • All milk & dairy products are not allowed either
  • There is also a strict ban on potatoes

RESTRICTED ITEMS:

  • Restriction on fruits and vegetables  
  • Restriction of fish, bivalves (dead) & fish/fishery products – no more than 20 kg total weight

Why all these rules & restrictions you might ask yourself?

One of the main reasons for this is that food, foremost animal products that contain milk or meat, might contain diseases such as bird flu or foot and mouth disease.

You will find more information about these restrictions and bans on gov.uk

Important: If you are travelling from outside the EU into the EU, you can only bring a certain amount without paying duty or tax ( up to your duty-free allowance)

If you are travelling to the UK, you can find more information about this here.

 

TRAVELLING FROM A EU COUNTRY TO A THIRD COUNTRY

If you are travelling to a third country, you must comply with the import regulations of the country in question. In many cases there are similar restrictions and prohibitions as for travel to the EU.

Getting foodstuffs out of a country is usually not an issue, the problems will arise once you are actually trying to import them into another country. 

 

Does it matter which airline you travel with?

On the Internet, passengers repeatedly ask how the various airlines deal with the topic of food. However, the question should not be whether British Airways, easyJet or Aegean Airlines allow food on board, but rather whether it is generally permitted or not.

Because the security personnel at the airport is not airline staff and the vast majority of such regulations are not airline specific. Unfortunately, many passengers are still unaware of this.

The question of which food may be brought through the security check does, therefore, not really depend on the airline you are traveling with.

 

What is the best way to contact airport security staff?

Passengers usually contact the airlines themselves if they have any questions about “Permitted & Prohibited Items in Hand Luggage”. On the one hand, this is somehow understandable, on the other hand in many cases it makes little sense and does not lead to the desired results.

Please allow me to explain this in more detail.

We have already identified the fundamental problem here in this article: Security checks are not carried out by airline personnel themselves.

So, if you are going to ask the airline about this, you simply have to hope that the staff there are well trained and, above all, well informed, because the airline also has to obtain (ask) this information from the body that is really responsible for the controls: the security staff at the airport.

And this stuff is provided by the airport. In Germany, for example, the Federal Police is responsible for security checks at airports.

It, therefore, makes little sense for you to ask the airlines yourself about these questions.

Often the staff cannot answer these questions at all or, in the worst case, you may even receive false statements, which you then have to regret bitterly at the security checkpoint. Which items may or may not be carried is a rather complicated subject and it is, therefore, not surprising that airline staff cannot always provide the perfect answer.

In many cases, you won’t get a satisfying answer from the airlines or wait a few days for an answer that won’t get you anywhere and will waste your time: “Sorry, but you will have to get in touch with the airport to get an answer to that question”.

And this is exactly what you should do. You should reach out directly to the people in charge: The security personnel at the airport

 

Talk to the people in charge

The best way to talk directly to people at security is through social media.

Twitter is particularly suitable here, as most airports operate a Twitter channel and answer questions via this channel.

In some cases, the airport itself has a Twitter account and if you ask a question there, you still don’t know exactly who you are talking to.

From my own experience, I can assure you, however, that most questions about hand luggage (and other luggage) are answered much more precisely and accurately here than if you asked the airline. And for good reasons. Either you speak directly with a security control expert or at least with an airport employee who has the opportunity to briefly contact the appropriate office on these questions.

Some Twitter accounts are even specific to the security staff themselves and you can assume that the question will reach the relevant experts directly. This is the case, for example, at Frankfurt Airport, which you can reach directly via Twitter to make your inquiries.

Another prime example in this context is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States.

You can use their Twitter account to place all your inquiries directly and within hours, sometimes even minutes, you will receive precise information about your luggage questions.

On the Twitter page of the TSA, you also have the option of attaching a photo and can thus specifically ask whether your item XYZ will finally make it through the security check or not.

In Europe, such a comprehensive service does not yet exist, but maybe it will come at some point.

 

Related Questions

Can you bring sandwiches through airport security? Yes, indeed. Even if they have some meat in it, you can bring them with you. However, you will need to make sure to eat them before you arrive at customs in the destination country.

Can you bring candy on a plane? Short answer: Yes. Long answer: There are no specific restrictions on candy, as long as we are talking about solid candies here. If the candies are in liquid form, the liquid rule for liquids in hand luggage needs to be observed.

What about cutlery in hand luggage? The rules for cutlery in hand luggage are not very clear, to say the very least. Metal cutlery (especially knives) usually do not make it through the security checkpoint, while metal spoons are usually fine. Plastic cutlery, on the other hand, is usually fine. You can read more about this topic here: Cutlery in Hand Luggage 

Can you take food on a plane in your suitcase rather than in hand luggage? Absolutely.

Can I bring food on a plane on an international flight? Yes, even on international flights you are allowed to bring food on board. Here it is particularly important to note that the import of various food products could be prohibited in the destination country. You must clarify this in advance. However, there will most likely be no problems at the security check itself, as the security check, as the name suggests, deals with safety issues and not food safety.

Written by Marcel Iseli

Hey guys! It's me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of carry-on-baggage.com. I am dealing with hand luggage related issues on a daily basis and I own several websites in this niche. Travelling is one of my biggest passions in life and I, therefore, happen to know a thing or two about hand luggage. I hope you all have a safe trip! Take care and thanks for the support. I really appreciate it.

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