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Taking Honey, Jam & Other Pliable Foodstuffs On Aircraft: A Brief Guide

Today, we will examine and explain how you can take honey, jam, and other food items that tread a fine line between solid and liquid in your hand luggage. When flying with food and drinks, the rules are so complicated that most people do not bring back food in their carry-on.

They worry that having a consumable product in their hand luggage will raise a red flag, leading to a body search and extensive questioning. They are also concerned that what they have shelled out good money for can be confiscated and thrown in the trash.

All liquids are limited to 3.4oz/100 ml bottles or containers

The good news is that solid food items can be carried in your hand luggage, but only liquids in something not bigger than a 3.4oz/100 ml bottle or container. This is good news for people wanting to bring back delicacies for foodie family and friends at home.


Photo: Ryanair

So, if you are in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and want to bring back authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano, you can do so without any problems. A tip, though, is to buy it in a vacuum-sealed packet rather than just having it wrapped and put in a paper bag.

As everyone knows, the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is one of the most precious treasures of the Italian gastronomic tradition. If you want to bring some home, purchase inexpensive 3.4oz/100 ml bottles from a Chinese bazaar (Dollar Store) and transfer the liquid from its original bottle to the smaller one.

You can also do this with olive oil and any other liquid items. A tip, though, is to keep all the 3.4oz/100 ml bottles and the original bottle in a clear Ziploc plastic bag so that the person inspecting your luggage can immediately recognize the liquids.

Honey, jam, and spreadable foods

Regarding the most confiscated food items at airports, leading the pack is honey and jam. These items, along with peanut butter and Nutella, tread a fine line between liquid and solid. The same thing also applies to chutneys and condiments, as airport screeners see them as liquids.

Again, if you transfer them from the original container to smaller 3.4oz/100 ml containers, you will not have a problem. Just like with the vinegar and olive oil we mentioned earlier, keep the original bottle so the screeners can understand what is in the smaller jars.

A common mistake many people make is that canned or olives in a jar are solid. While olives capers, capers, antipasti, and anchovies are tangible items, they are stored in brine or oil, a liquid and, therefore, a prohibited item.

While things stored in brine are OK to transfer to smaller containers, it is not recommended to do it with preserved foods as they have a short shelf life once the original container is opened.

The rules will soon change in the UK

The 3.4oz/100 ml rule will not apply in the United Kingdom and more sometime in 2024. The UK Border Force is trialing high-tech CT scanners and wants them in every UK airport by next summer.


a350 delta

Photo: Delta Air Lines

If you return to the US from a European vacation, you will surely want to bring back some of the delicious food you sampled. The bottom line is that you cannot bring back meat. If you are found to have any meat in your luggage, you can face fines of up to $10,000. The good news is you can bring back pasteurized vacuum-sealed hard cheeses in containers labeled with the country of origin, provided the cheese does not contain meat.



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