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Snack bars require manual bag search? SPI tells me new policy

Snack bars require manual bag search? SPI tells me new policy

Old Apr 11, 18, 11:19 am
  #1  
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Snack bars require manual bag search? SPI tells me new policy

Twice now, departing SPI, my backpack has been pulled off for a manual check because I have about 10 snack bars in one of the sections (granola bars), almonds. I have never had this happen except for now twice at SPI. I asked the TSA agents why this was happening at SPI but has never happened at any of the other dozens of airports I pass through. The agents tell me that this is a new program / policy that is being rolled out, and that little SPI is one of the first to follow it! They said it would be too disruptive if this was rolled out all at once ha!

Does anybody know whether this is true or have any more information? I find it hard to believe this to be true, and it seems crazy that I can't travel with my snack stash - if this is indeed an upcoming policy what is the restriction and how do we avoid manual checks?

I asked how to prevent this and they said to take the snack bars out in a separate tray - that seems crazy to have another thing to repack every time. SPI already doesn't have Pre-Check implemented so we have to take out liquids and electronics.

Is SPI really state of the art in TSA security policy, or am I dealing with poor agents?
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Old Apr 11, 18, 2:10 pm
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You’re dealing with a real phenomenon.

A couple of years ago Security at BOS did a manual search of my carry-on because I had a box of Clif Bars in it. The agent said that they can look like plastic explosives on the scanner, especially when they are stacked neatly in a box like they were.

Evidently many food items, because they are carbon-based, can resemble explosives on the scanners.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 2:13 pm
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I have heard about this recently from another travel group. It is only certain airports for now, but the plan is to roll it out to all/most airports. People who have been stopped were told by TSA to pack their snacks in a separate ziploc bag and then put the ziploc bag in a tray.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 2:32 pm
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My husband just had to do this at the Tucson airport on Monday. He was told that all food needs to come out of the bags.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 2:45 pm
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Have been doing this in HNL

For the past few months TSA has been doing this sporadically, also on neighbor islands. Has been tremendously inconvenient; once I had to unpack my entire suitcase and repack it as I had stowed macadamia individual packs to give as gifts in every little cranny in my suitcase. Because mine took so long and the line for checking food was over 10 people long, they skipped the people after me.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 3:05 pm
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<redacted>

I also heard other pax complaining post-TSA in FAR yesterday about having to pull out snack bars, but nobody said anything pre-X-Ray to anyone in line when I was up.

Last edited by TWA884; Apr 11, 18 at 3:49 pm Reason: Opinion/commentary best left for the Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate forum
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Old Apr 11, 18, 3:16 pm
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Check both before and after x-ray

If they see it in the x-ray, they have pulled me aside and I have had to unpack my suitcase. They have asked before x-ray if I have food, and even though it is pre-packaged candy and nuts, they have made me unpack my suitcase. Last time I said no even though there was and they let me through without a search.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by pnak View Post
Last time I said no even though there was and they let me through without a search.
<redacted> That is my new strategy when I'm using PreCheck Lite.

Plan B is, "You unpack it, I submitted it for inspection so do what you need to do. I'm not touching it until you tell me I'm clear."

Last edited by TWA884; Apr 11, 18 at 3:42 pm Reason: Opinion/commentary best left for the Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate forum.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 3:46 pm
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Exclamation Moderator's Note

Folks,

Just a gentle reminder that the Practical Travel Safety and Security Issues forum is informational.

Per the forum's sticky post, this is the place for members to ask questions and get information to help them travel safely and with minimal hassle.

Please save your commentary, opinion, rants and diatribes for the Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate forum, where we have a long running thread on this topic:
TSA Pilot Program: All Food and Electronics Larger than Cellphones out for Screening
Thank you for understanding,

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Travel Safety/Security co-moderator
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Old Apr 11, 18, 5:01 pm
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Originally Posted by pa3lsvt View Post
<redacted> That is my new strategy when I'm using PreCheck Lite.

Plan B is, "You unpack it, I submitted it for inspection so do what you need to do. I'm not touching it until you tell me I'm clear."
TSA is not supposed to let you touch the bag or its contents until it has been cleared. I would consider it a favor if that happened.

In any event, the food thing is being rolled out nationwide. But, slowly.
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Old Apr 12, 18, 5:30 pm
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If you don't search for snacks, you can't steal some to eat later.
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Old Apr 12, 18, 10:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Kamalaasaa View Post
You’re dealing with a real phenomenon.

A couple of years ago Security at BOS did a manual search of my carry-on because I had a box of Clif Bars in it. The agent said that they can look like plastic explosives on the scanner, especially when they are stacked neatly in a box like they were.

Evidently many food items, because they are carbon-based, can resemble explosives on the scanners.
Yup. Anything that reads as organic and is of the requisite density is liable to get looked at, whether checked or carry-on.

Same sort of thing at agriculture inspection--they open bags based on organic + density. We've learned to gather everything that might draw their interest into one bag to reduce the searching if we get selected.
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