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TSA still refusing "alternate screening" for breastmilk

TSA still refusing "alternate screening" for breastmilk

Old Jan 7, 11, 3:09 pm
  #1  
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TSA still refusing "alternate screening" for breastmilk

When I reached the checkpoint, I declared to the Transportation Security Officer (TSO) that I had breastmilk and I wanted it to be screened with the alternate screening process. I had already put my personal items (including my baby carrier), phone, and shoes, into bins, and I was carrying my 7-month-old son and the cooler bag containing the breastmilk.

The first TSO (a woman) told me that there is no alternate screening process for breastmilk. I told her that breastmilk is classified as a "medical liquid" according to TSA and is therefore allowed to be alternatively screened (not put through the x-ray machine) if I requested. She said that wasn't true, then called for her manager. I talked to him, repeating my request for the alternate screening, and he said that everything has to go through the x-ray machine. I told him that the TSA website says that breastmilk is in the same category as other medical liquids, and therefore does not have to be x-rayed. He said, "I'm sorry, but everything has to be x-rayed." I asked if there was anyone else I could speak to about it. This man (manager) told me that his manager would be a while because he was all the way over at the other end of the airport. He and the other TSOs directed me to wait in a chair in the middle of the security screening area. I could see my family waiting for me on the other side of the metal detector and full-body scanner. I sat down and held Daniel on my lap, without my shoes or other personal belongings, which had been placed on top of the x-ray machine at that point (as they had already gone through the screening process and were waiting for me to make it through).

While I was waiting, a male TSO asked me if I was waiting for someone, and I told him I was waiting to discuss my breastmilk with "a manager," and he walked away. I waited for approximately 20 minutes in the chair in the middle of security before the second manager, Randell C. Lundsgaard, showed up. Mr. Lundsgaard asked to see my milk. I opened my cooler bag, removed the ice pack, and showed him the three bags of frozen milk. Mr. Lundsgaard then reiterated that the breastmilk had to go through the x-ray machine. He told me that since it's frozen, it doesn't count as a medical liquid. I pointed out to him that breastmilk is perishable. If I didn't freeze it, it would spoil, and would be unusable. He said that he understood that, but that "bad people" could hide things in frozen liquids, and there's no way for him to verify that this is, in fact, breastmilk, without it going through the x-ray machine.

. . . .

After a while, Mr. Lundsgaard showed up for a second time with another man, Francis K. Ruholl [MSY Security Manager], to talk to me about the breastmilk. I showed them the websites that said breastmilk is a medical liquid and also that liquids that are frozen solid are allowed (and exempt from the 3-1-1 rule). They said that I was looking at two different rules that don't go together, and that since the milk is frozen, it no longer qualifies as a medical liquid because it's not a liquid anymore. I then asked, "What about frozen medications?" They said that if I had a note from my doctor that they would consider allowing the milk to not be put through the x-ray machine. I pointed out that I'm not in my home city, which is why I'm transporting frozen milk. How was I supposed to get a note from my doctor? They said if I had a note from my doctor that that "might help," but since I didn't have one, the breastmilk had to go through the x-ray machine. They said once again, that since it was frozen, they aren't able to do the alternate screening on it, because they can't just get a little bit of it out. I then offered to open one of the bags and break a piece off for them to thaw and test, and one of them asked, "But then how can we be sure that the rest of it is safe?"
http://www.anktangle.com/2011/01/tsa...reastmilk.html
Ellie M is offline  
Old Jan 7, 11, 3:22 pm
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OMG, I just read the entire account at that link, and it leaves me shaking!!! I am so angry, frustrated and disgusted at TSA. WHAT is the point of having posted guidelines if they don't follow them??!!
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Old Jan 7, 11, 3:28 pm
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Seems to be standard (and imo reasonable) policy:
To prevent your medication, associated supplies or fragile medical materials for contamination or damage, we will ask you to display, handle, and repack your own medication and associated supplies during visual inspection. Any medication and/or associated supplies that we can't clear visually will be X-rayed. If you refuse, you will not be permitted to carry your medications and related supplies into the sterile area.
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Old Jan 7, 11, 3:37 pm
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Originally Posted by sangreal View Post
Seems to be standard (and imo reasonable) policy:
And why wouldn't a swab and a quick search with a HHMD be acceptable to screen it?

Oh wait, they got rid of the HHMDs.
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Old Jan 7, 11, 3:47 pm
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The whole idea that TSA has unpublished rules that passengers are required to follow is very scary to me. I understand there may be things that need to be kept secret in the interest of national security. I also know that if a regulation isn't discoverable by a passenger, she shouldn't be required to follow it.
To you and to millions of others, Amy.
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Old Jan 7, 11, 3:51 pm
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I just read the entire account too at the woman's blog, and I too am seething with fury.

What a bunch of ill-informed, bullying idiots the TSA employs! As others have often stated, it is they, and other members of the Department of Homeland Security, who have become the real terrorists in this country.
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Old Jan 7, 11, 3:51 pm
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Is there an explosive that even remotely resembles a bag of frozen breast milk?
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Old Jan 7, 11, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by sangreal View Post
Seems to be standard (and imo reasonable) policy:
To prevent your medication, associated supplies or fragile medical materials for contamination or damage, we will ask you to display, handle, and repack your own medication and associated supplies during visual inspection. Any medication and/or associated supplies that we can't clear visually will be X-rayed. If you refuse, you will not be permitted to carry your medications and related supplies into the sterile area.
If that were the case, the TSOs and especially the supervisors should have exhibited the intelligence and courtesy to explain it the traveler instead of claiming it was some supersecret regulation that they could not disclose.

Sadly, both TSOs and supervisors seem to lack both intelligence and courtesy.
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Old Jan 7, 11, 4:02 pm
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Is this the same woman who has been involved in the breastmilk controversy in the news lately?

This is insanity at its worst.

WHEN will this end?
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Old Jan 7, 11, 4:04 pm
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Originally Posted by TXagogo View Post
Is this the same woman who has been involved in the breastmilk controversy in the news lately?

This is insanity at its worst.

WHEN will this end?
No, this was a new victim for the bullies to abuse.

Originally Posted by IslandBased View Post
Is there an explosive that even remotely resembles a bag of frozen breast milk?
If there is, it would be SSI.
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Old Jan 7, 11, 4:10 pm
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Since I don't know all the rules (of course I don't. no one does except for the people who made them up and refuse to release them), can someone tell me if this woman was mistaken or was she correct in her belief that the milk did not need to be X-rayed?

Also, if she was correct, how can we get copies of her story sent to:

Rush Holt
Chip Pitts
Kate Hanni
Ginger McCall
David Greenfield
and
Jason Chaffetz

...as well as the news media?
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Old Jan 7, 11, 4:10 pm
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Originally Posted by TXagogo View Post
Is this the same woman who has been involved in the breastmilk controversy in the news lately?

This is insanity at its worst.

WHEN will this end?
No, this is another victim.

Originally Posted by TXagogo View Post
Since I don't know all the rules (of course I don't. no one does except for the people who made them up and refuse to release them), can someone tell me if this woman was mistaken or was she correct in her belief that the milk did not need to be X-rayed?

Also, if she was correct, how can we get copies of her story sent to:

Rush Holt
Chip Pitts
Kate Hanni
Ginger McCall
David Greenfield
and
Jason Chaffetz

...as well as the news media?
I e-mailed her and asked her to contact Holt and Chaffetz. Her e-mail addy is on the blog - or you can leave a comment including these names.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Jan 12, 11 at 3:12 am Reason: merge consecutive posts
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Old Jan 7, 11, 4:17 pm
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Originally Posted by IslandBased View Post
Is there an explosive that even remotely resembles a bag of frozen breast milk?
Of course there is.. Be scared

Originally Posted by doober View Post
No, this is another victim.
Another one?! You'd think that these idiots would learn
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Old Jan 7, 11, 4:19 pm
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While I don't agree with TSA on how they handled this I suspect if the milk had been liquid it could have been screened by means other than xray.

Being frozen I think is the problem since something (remote possibility) could be hidden and concealed in the bag.

Just my 2 cents.

If people who have to endure TSA screenings had clear rules of what they must do to pass through a TSA Dragnet Checkpoint then these situations would not occur.
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Old Jan 7, 11, 4:20 pm
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She and Stacy Amato need to be in touch with one another!

http://www.youtube.com/user/staceyarmato
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