11 July 2008

My failed attempt at cultured terror

I got caught red-handed whilst attempting to sneak into an airplane a 150-gram cup of nonfat vanilla yogurt with active cultures of bacteria at the Washington National Airport 2 weeks ago. Imagine the horrendous act of fermentation I was about to unleash among an airplane full of innocent lactose-intolerant passengers had it not been for an alert Transportation Security Administration official who would not let anything so dangerous as a cup full of Lactobacillus acidophilus pass the security check. Despite my hungry pleas that it was to be my lunch, my cup of cultured milk product was safely defused by the TSA official in the nearest garbage can. I wasn’t even allowed to consume it then and there.

Yogurt
Pull the lid and throw consume.

Aren't you feeling safer already?


9 comments:

Deniz Bevan said...

why wouldn't they let you eat it? instead of throwing it in the garbage fer crying out loud!

John said...

Opening it might let the cultures escape. And we can't have that.

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

Well, I don't think they are afraid of yogurt per se. I guess their stifled thinking is that someone might have replaced yogurt with a dangerous substance. But then again, they simply throw it in the garbage. Is that how we are supposed to dispose of potentially dangerous substances?

It doesn't make much sense to me.

Duane Smith said...

Your problem was not that you could or couldn't take yogurt through security. Your problem was that it was more than 3 ounces of "Yogurt or gel like food substances." Yes, there is a line in the regulations that specifically addresses "Yogurt or gel like food substances." For the record, Jell-O has its own line with a 3 ounce limit also. The container plainly says 5.5 oz. (~150 g.) on the label. By the way, it would have been just fine if you had it in your checked luggage. What I mean is, it would have been allowable to have it in your checked luggage. How fine it would be would depend on other things like how hot is was and how far you were traveling. My guess is they have another rule about holding up the line.

I have mixed feeling about such rules. On the one hand, they prevent officials from using reasonable judgment. On the other hand, such rules keep officials from being capricious and arbitrary or even showing prejudice in their application.

xoggoth said...

Must completely spoil the fun of being an official if you can't be capricious and arbitrary.

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

I have no problem with the security official; he was only following the regulation. In fact, he did become "capricious and arbitrary" for me, because he let me keep my cologne & shampoo, both of which were in 4-ounce bottles.

It's the regulation & its application that don't make much sense. That the confiscated items are thrown into an ordinary garbage can shows that they already know that there is nothing dangerous in them.

Kevin Bonham said...

Many people have stories of silly airline security stuff. My back-door latch key was once almost confiscated by someone who considered I might attempt to dismantle the plane by using it as a screwdriver. Eventually they relented and allowed it to travel as checked luggage in a calico bag by itself.

O. B. Sirius said...

You'd think they would have evacuated the terminals to prevent such a dangerous yogurt from hurting another innocent person. Yet they let everyone else walk right by the garbage can, where all those dangerous water bottles, baby lotions, and food substances such as your yogurt might spontaneously combine to create The Ultimate Horror. I suspect the organicality of the yogurt just threw the security folks over the edge.

worldpeace said...

yeah its a security matters. Lots of bad things happen lately