Food That You Are Definitely Not Allowed to Carry in Your Hand Luggage

Food That You Are Definitely Not Allowed to Carry in Your Hand Luggage

Better safe than sorry!

Have you ever packed your little carry-on bag with delicious goodies to enjoy on a long flight only to find out that you can’t have it on board? How frustrating is it being told that you can either lose it, ship it or eat it immediately but can’t take it with you, even to eat it as you wait to board? Everyone has that one story to tell.

Also read: Travel Hack 101: What’s in My Carry-On Bag

food not allowed hand luggage

Image credit: Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

It’s not every piece of food that’s not permitted. We wanted to let you in on what’s allowed and what’s not before you grab all the deals from the latest Coles’ offers. They have the perfect nibbles for your hand luggage, but you need to shop wisely. One thing is sure though, the $2 Tim Tams, Cadbury cookies, or Arnott’s creams will never give you issues at the airport!

Canned food

Canned goods are particularly not favourable to carry in as part of your hand luggage but are allowed in checked baggage. This is because most canned foods are over 100ml or 3.4 ounces, the maximum allowed volume for carry-ons. Moreover, canned foods are now prone to abuse by drug users injecting suspensions into the can without a noticeable puncture; thus they require extra screening.

To avoid paying unnecessary fines and being made to wait, the easiest thing you can do for yourself is to ship your canned foods. Though you may incur extra costs, it’s way better than paying a fine and that drama security causes.

Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages are surprisingly not so controversial when it comes to bringing them in your carry on luggage. The Transport Security Administration (TSA) has been very clear concerning the alcohol percentage of your drink. This is the whole story. As long as you can pour your liquid into a quart-sized transparent zip-lock bag to a maximum of 100ml / 3.4oz, you are good. Of course, it’s one bag per person. In your checked bag, there’s no limit for alcohol content less than 24%. From 24 to 48%, you can load up to 5L in your suitcase. Do not try to bring in anything with an alcoholic content above 70%, though; the strong stuff must just stay at home.


You are doing some shopping, and you come across your favourite expensive jam. You buy it because of its heavenly taste in your pudding and on a sandwich — the perfect little meal for your trip the next day. You’re checking in and TSA is on your back because your jar is in your handbag, and it’s above 100ml; you have to leave it behind. They ask you to throw it away. Heart-wrenching! Remember the golden rule; if it’s above 100ml, leave it at home. Security is very strict about the quantity of fluids and a few millilitres over is reason enough for confiscation.

Peanut butter and Nutella

The hazelnut cocoa spread, Nutella, is a favourite for many. That, and peanut butter. You might just pack a jar or two without hesitation, but security will say otherwise. No matter the texture of the Nutella or peanut butter, crunchy with clearly visible nut bits, the two are still considered as fluids. The Transport Security Administration policy 3-1-1 applies to the spreads. This simply means if either one of them is above the allowed quantity of 3.4 ounces (100ml), you will not be allowed to have them in your hand luggage no matter the circumstance.

Also read: A Guide to The Best Luggage and Backpack Brands for Every Traveller


Image credit: JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

To avoid any complications with Airport Security and TSA, just make sure that any fluids you want to have in your hand luggage are less than 3.4 ounces / 100ml. If otherwise, pack them in your check-in luggage and make sure that they are adequately sealed.

About Author

Sipho Mavhusa
Sipho Mavhusa

Sipho loves to make memories as she travels around the world. From tasting new cuisines to learning new languages, her love for adventure will lead her to write a book like Gulliver’s Travels someday.