Published date: 3 March 2023

Peanut butter, honey, Marmite, jam, and canned fish all have two things in common, they are pantry staples, and they will be removed from your carry-on bag if you’re flying internationally and they exceed the 100 millilitre rule.

Most travellers are well-versed in the 100 ml rule when it comes to items such as shampoo but even the most frequent flyers have been tripped up on food items falling into the same powders, liquids, aerosols and gels category.

Karen Urwin, the Aviation Security Service’s group manager of operations, says every day aviation security officers remove a sizeable amount of food from passengers at the international screening points.

“Most of the food we remove is completely fine to go into checked luggage but not in carry-on. The general rule is if you can spill, smear, spread, or spray it, then the item will be measured against the 100 ml rule.”

“Unfortunately, we can’t let even expensive items be taken on board an aircraft in passengers’ carry-on bags if they breach the rules. We realise people want to take a taste of New Zealand overseas with them, and many of these items are gifts, so we strongly recommend people pack items such as honey, olive oil, wine, and condiments in their checked bag.”

“We see a number of items you probably won’t think to pack on an international flight. This includes wheels of soft cheeses, reduced cream to make dip, homemade play dough, ice packs to keep food cold, blocks of butter, and Milo. Our officers don’t want to take items off passengers, but we have to enforce the rules.”

“We do see high volumes of food items on flights to the Pacific Island nations and we understand why passengers are wanting to travel with food. But the best bet is for all food items to be in checked bags,” said Karen Urwin.

Common food items relinquished at aviation security screening points for exceeding 100 mls:

  • Honey, especially the UMF Manuka type
  • Tinned corned beef
  • Himalayan salt
  • Milk (the exception being milk formula for an infant passenger, which is allowed)
  • Cheese
  • Peanut butter, Marmite, and jam
  • Tinned spaghetti and baked beans
  • Chiller products such as butter, sour cream, and hummus
  • Tinned fish
  • Olive oil.