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TSA Says The Bird Can Fly But Not The Gravy

Melody Stone / Capital Public Radio

Melody Stone / Capital Public Radio

UPDATE: This story is still accurate as of November 2017. If you have questions you can see the official TSA guidelines here or ask the TSA directly on Facebook or Twitter.

It's not that unusual for airline passengers to bring a frozen, chilled or roasted turkey with them, according to Samantha Harris, lead TSA officer at Sacramento airport.

She recalls a Thanksgiving passenger who roasted the holiday bird and brought it through security as carry-on.

"He did have it in a cardboard box and the steam from the turkey did kind-of ruin the cardboard box," explains Harris.

"So if you do travel with a cooked turkey you might want to put it in either a plastic container or a metal container."

A casserole, stuffing or even an apple pie are all items likely to make it through a TSA security checkpoint. But if the gravy is liquid, it's best to leave it at home. 

What about that sealed container of yogurt in your purse that you're bringing as a snack? TSA spokesman Nico Menendez says that's still a 'no.'

"But things like a casserole or loaves of bread or other things that you'd put on the dinner table would be allowed," explains Menendez.

"But then there are things like mashed potatoes that probably wouldn't be allowed. So it's a judgment call."

Melendez says TSA security officers make that determination based on the consistency of a food. Depending on your recipe, mashed potatoes could turn out liquid-y. And liquids aren't coming aboard as a carry-on item unless they weigh in at less than 3.4 ounces.

If you have any last minute confusion about edible carry-on dos and don'ts you can tweet a query to "AskTSA."

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