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Old Aug 12, 09, 1:02 am   #1
 
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Question TSA/EU rules for canned food in carry-on luggage?

I had three small cans of tinned fish (gross weight 160g) confiscated at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport last Saturday, and I've been engaging in a so far fruitless discussion with the Finnish Aviation Administration ever since. Their contention is that canned fish and by extension any can of any sort is a "liquid" banned by
EC Regulation 820/2008 Sec. 4.1.1 (f), and my contention is that they're smoking crack, both in their reading of the law (which talks exclusively about "gels, pastes, lotions ... and items of similar consistency") and by thinking that somebody could blow up the plane with a tin of herring. Unfortunately for me, the regulation above does prohibit "liquid/solid mixtures", and my guess is that will be their next excuse... even though even a ballpoint pen or the human body could be described as a "liquid/solid mixture".

Based on eg. this, the TSA is OK with sealed, canned items, but I couldn't find anything official about this on the TSA website itself. I'm also unable to find any EU guidance on the issue. Any ideas?


(for scale, that's slightly wider but about half the height of your average small can of tuna... and it tastes much better than it looks in that fairly disgusting pic!)
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Old Aug 12, 09, 4:20 am   #2
 
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Hi there,

Quick question: did the tin contain any liquid such as oil or water along with the fish?

If yes, it's a container bigger than 100 ml, and therefore disallowed by the European regulation.

If not, you would seem to have a point.

Edit: just checked the translation of "Sprotid olis" -> Sprats in oil. Thus, the item falls straight under section 4.1.1 (f) for solid/liquid mixture, and the container was above the maximum size allowed of 100 ml.

Now, does this rhyme with security ... that's a whole other debate ... but they were applying the European regulation.

Cheers,

GenevaFlyer
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Last edited by GenevaFlyer; Aug 12, 09 at 4:26 am. Reason: Added translation note.
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Old Aug 12, 09, 5:32 am   #3
 
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Does 160g of sprats take up more than 100ml of space? If not, stick the cans in a baggie.
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Old Aug 12, 09, 5:35 am   #4
 
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Old Aug 12, 09, 9:05 am   #5
 
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Ah Helsinki.

Last year I had them try to confiscate cans of aircraft insecticide (the stuff you see the crew spraying the cabin with when flying from a tropical destination).

The logic was "these cans are not allowed on board aircraft". This was despite the fact that the cans are annotated with a warnng "not for use except on board aircraft".

We spent about 15 minutes arguing the apparent contradiction until a supervisor arrived and agreed to let them through provided they were each placed individually in a ziploc bag.

Logic? None.
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Old Aug 12, 09, 10:14 am   #6
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post

We spent about 15 minutes arguing the apparent contradiction until a supervisor arrived and agreed to let them through provided they were each placed individually in a ziploc bag.

Logic? None.
It's perfectly logical. Everyone knows that all ziploc baggies are magical anti-bomb devices.
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Old Aug 13, 09, 12:34 am   #7
 
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Edit: just checked the translation of "Sprotid olis" -> Sprats in oil. Thus, the item falls straight under section 4.1.1 (f) for solid/liquid mixture, and the container was above the maximum size allowed of 100 ml.
Yes, they were in oil, although not much of it. The can states "gross weight 160g", of which at least 112g is fish, so by induction there's under 48g of liquid in there...

But, as you state, the regulation doesn't distinguish between 100 ml of mixed or pure liquid, even one drop is enough. You'd be pretty hard pressed to find any canned product that doesn't have some quantity of some liquid inside, so in practice this amounts to a blanket ban on any and all canned food?

Quote:
Now, does this rhyme with security ... that's a whole other debate ... but they were applying the European regulation.
So what's TSA's take on this? The previous link I posted has a TSA guy explicitly saying that canned cat food is OK. It appears that previous versions of the TSA site had wording allowing "Canned or jarred goods such as soup, sauces, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables and jellies, 3 oz or less", but the current version no longer has this line.
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Old Aug 13, 09, 12:57 pm   #8
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Yes, they were in oil, although not much of it. The can states "gross weight 160g", of which at least 112g is fish, so by induction there's under 48g of liquid in there...
But their X-ray can't tell the difference. There are devices to allow you to make your own canned items--normally used for pranks or by magicians.

Quote:
But, as you state, the regulation doesn't distinguish between 100 ml of mixed or pure liquid, even one drop is enough. You'd be pretty hard pressed to find any canned product that doesn't have some quantity of some liquid inside, so in practice this amounts to a blanket ban on any and all canned food?
Some brand here offers vacuum-packed corn. Open one of those cans and you get no more than maybe a teaspoon of liquid.
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Old Aug 13, 09, 11:57 pm   #9
 
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But their X-ray can't tell the difference. There are devices to allow you to make your own canned items--normally used for pranks or by magicians.
Which is why TSA rules distinguish(ed) between commercial and home-made cans.

Quote:
Some brand here offers vacuum-packed corn. Open one of those cans and you get no more than maybe a teaspoon of liquid.
Which is still enough to disqualify it under the rules above, no?
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Old Aug 14, 09, 12:10 am   #10
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Which is why TSA rules distinguish(ed) between commercial and home-made cans.


Which is still enough to disqualify it under the rules above, no?
Yes, I am aware of TSA is not allowed you to bring the canned through at security. Besides, you will have to placed the canned into checked bags instead of put the canned into the aircraft. Because they won't let you bring the canned any EU airports. If you bring larger container aren't permitted beyond at security. Otherwise, you may allowed to placed the canned food to put into the checking bags.
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Old Aug 14, 09, 3:57 am   #11
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I don't think there is a clearcut rule within the EU. This recent thread on the BA forum shows a can which was passed no problem at EDI (since they are sold about 100 m from security!) was confiscated at LGW - same airport operator, different rules It might have helped that EDI staff would know that canned haggis would contain no liquid, whilst LGW staff are generally clueless about things Scottish (previous threads on LGW meeting the tartan army applying )
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Old Aug 14, 09, 11:18 am   #12
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Which is why TSA rules distinguish(ed) between commercial and home-made cans.
And how are they supposed to tell??
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Old Aug 14, 09, 1:06 pm   #13
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And how are they supposed to tell??
I think you should have to ask security. He will explaining you something about cans food.
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Old Aug 15, 09, 1:24 am   #14
 
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And how are they supposed to tell??
Don't ask me... but I'd presume the vast majority of home canners use reusable glass jars, not metal tins.
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Old Aug 15, 09, 10:10 am   #15
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Don't ask me... but I'd presume the vast majority of home canners use reusable glass jars, not metal tins.
Of course. I'm talking about home equipment that produces cans that look just like the real ones. My impression is that it's expensive but available. I've seen it once--a place in the mall that would can things for you--an exotic way of wrapping Christmas presents. Magicians also use such stuff. Getting a proper-looking label on it would be tricky but not impossible.
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