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Frequent flyer in a jam over homemade jam
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If you're one of the millions headed to the airport this holiday season, take note: homemade jam will gum up the security line.

As a frequent traveler in and out of Denver International Airport, Kathleen Triou considers herself well-versed in the requirements of what items she can take through security.

But she was confounded Dec. 15 when a Transportation Security Administration agent had her in a jam over, well, raspberry jam.

"It was jam. Just homemade jam in a tiny mason jar," said Triou, a marketing executive from San Francisco who received the goodie as a gift from a colleague. "They said it has the potential to be bomb material."

Triou tried to explain. "I told the agent, 'It's not gel, not perfume, not cosmetics, just jam.' You could see the seeds in it," she said. But the TSA agent would hear none of it and "continued to insist it could not pass through security as it could be bomb material."

Triou wasn't sure how many ounces the jar was — though she said it could have been slightly more than the 3 ounces the TSA permits for carry-on liquids — but she insists it was enclosed food and didn't think it applied.

A TSA blog says items such as jams, cranberry sauce, etc., are permitted but only in checked baggage.

Astounded by the sticky situation and wanting to at least show family members the neatly decorated jar of jam, Triou asked if she could snap a picture of it with her phone.

"No," she says the agents told her.

By this point, the agent had gotten her supervisor involved.

"So now they say I can't take a picture of the jam because we're in a secure area."

Triou said the TSA agents then told her she could exit the secure area and take a photo of it.

"At that point, it would have taken at least another 15 minutes to go back through security," said Triou. "It just wasn't worth it. But what's worse is that if this is potentially 'bomb material,' why do they just discard it in a trash can off to the side?"

Triou said she understands the agents were doing their jobs but still, it's frustratingly funny when you can't even take a picture of your own item before tossing it out.

"I hope that my frustration might be someone else's salvation as they travel this holiday season," she said.

Next time Triou says she will remember to pack the jam.

Denver • TSA said it could be bomb material.
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