Though the TSA says that they are not planning to begin screening travelers' food through airport security, many Twitter users have been sounding off that their food has indeed been inspected. (Reuters)
Better hang on tight to those potato chips — the Transportation Security Administration is being accused of ramping up security when it comes to screening snack foods.
In recent weeks, people traveling through Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Newark, N.J. airports have been sporadically asked by TSA officials to remove food from carry-on bags in airport security checkpoint lines, USA Today is reporting. One passenger even told the outlet that a TSA officer told him the snack check was part of a new policy to debut nationwide in May.
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in one March 26 incident, a passenger named Sree Sreenivasan said he was flying from Newark Liberty International Airport to Toronto, and had lined up at a checkpoint next to travelers speaking limited English, who were all heading for a 15-hour flight to India. Sreenivasan said he helped translate between TSA staffers and the group, but that the travelers were taken aback by the request to place their foil-wrapped food in bins to pass through X-ray machines.
Hey, @AskTSA @TSA! Can you help with this Indian-food situation potentially cooking in @EWRairport? https://t.co/Rdmp5MpDhD pic.twitter.com/sSwg4Irg0Z— sree sreenivasan 谢瑞睿 #sreetips tour (@sree) March 26, 2018
Sreenivasan said the TSA officials were “unfailingly polite” through the encounter, but later mused on Twitter that the “confusing” ruling could prove problematic in the future.
“Are they going to search every roti, every rice? That’s crazy,” Sreenivasan said, as quoted by USA Today.
Some of Sreenivasan's fellow travelers also questioned whether TSA staffers would change their gloves after touching each traveler’s food in the future, he claimed.
However, a TSA spokesperson told Fox News that there is no new policy regarding food screening at airport security, despite reports to the contrary.
"There is no policy that requires travelers to remove food from their carry-on bags, and there are no changes to what food items can be brought through an airport security checkpoint," stated the TSA representative. "TSA officers may request that food and other items be removed to facilitate the screening process by helping to declutter carry-on bags. This enables TSA officers to obtain clearer x-ray images of the bag."
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Concerns over exposure to allergens is a growing issue among the air travel community, as young boys aboard American Airlines and Southwest flights have recently made headlines for suffering near-fatal allergic reactions to nuts on board.
Though checking food is certainly a valid safety precaution and the TSA’s website clearly details what items are not permitted on board, air travelers are feeling frustrated that the food inspection policies are not uniform across domestic airports. Many have taken to Twitter to voice their dissent – and confusion – with what’s going on.
@AskTSA Is removing snacks a new thing? Friend traveled from ATL yesterday a.m. and everyone had to remove all their snacks for screening. Was treated rudely because was not moving fast enough.— ExploreDreamTravel (@XploreDreamTrav) March 26, 2018
I've seen that request from TSA screeners a few times, including at LAX a couple of weeks ago and also SFO. I agree it's a good idea but it definitely caught many by surprise and the explanations could be improved.— Doug Levy (@SFDoug) March 26, 2018
Tico got pulled out by the TSA for excessive fruit snacks. Poor TSA guy had to check each packet pic.twitter.com/Qp9QaeSnaT— Fever Ultimate (@FeverUltimate) March 26, 2018
#talesfromgraceland - #noshame edition...#TSA now requires travelers to put any #food in a separate tray. you should have seen the agent's face when i pulled the #pancakes from my carry-on.#wedontwastefood #snacks #momlife #travelwithchildren— BestMomNever (@amygracebee) January 15, 2018
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Going thru airport screening lane at San Antonio now, the TSA asked me if I had a lot of snacks in my carry on bag. I looked at my belly and asked if he was profiling me ! Hahaha!— iedward (@iedward) March 8, 2018
No snacks in my bag sir! He said snacks not banned yet, but could be next. Yikes!! pic.twitter.com/PSMuJUdQ83
Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak