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Check the cranberry sauce: TSA issues guide to packing Thanksgiving foods

Megan Guza
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Pack the gravy in your checked bag if you’re flying with leftovers over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The stuffing, however, can accompany you to your seat. So can an entire turkey.

The Transportation Security Administration on Friday released a handy guide to help travelers determine what Thanksgiving foods can be stashed in their carry-on and what has to go in checked baggage.

“Passengers bring food with them every day of the year,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. “Generally, if the item is solid, it can be carried through a checkpoint.”

Baked goods like pies and cakes could be subject to additional screening, she said. Liquids – jellies, eggnog, maple syrup, wine, canned fruit and vegetables with liquid in the can – have to go in a checked bag.

“The general rule of thumb is that if you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, then it should go into a checked bag,” Farbstein said.

Mashed potatoes have to go in checked bags. Uncooked potatoes can go in carry-on. Once mashed, “they’re not exactly what one would define as a solid,” she said.

Liquid foods are still subject to the 3.4-ounce rule, so if you’re carrying less than 3.5 ounces of gravy or cranberry sauce, it can go in your carry-on bag as long as it’s inside a clear, quart-sized re-sealable bag. Pack your gravy in a travel-sized bottle, and you’re golden.

Casseroles? Carry on. Creamy dips and spreads? Checked bag.

“Items that should be placed in a checked bag should be carefully packed in plastic tubs that are sealed tightly – perhaps even with some additional duct tape to keep the lids sealed,” Farbstein said. “Or, if in glass containers such as a bottle of wine, it might be a good idea to wrap it in bubble wrap.”

Jello molds, according to TSA officials, are considered a liquid, and they must be packed in a checked bag.

Passengers who are unsure can download the My TSA app, check tsa.gov or reach out to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook messenger.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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