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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Taking Food On A Plane
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19 posts in this topic

I am planning a trip and am wondering I can pack food in my checked luggage? I have read that I can't bring any food on the plane unless I buy it after I go through security.

Thanks!

Diane

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You can put all kinds of things in your checked baggage. The only things you can NOT put in your CARRY ON baggage are liquids or gels (except small containers that are then put in a quart ziploc bag). We've taken frozen food (bread, cookies, Amy's mac & cheese) with freezer packs in soft sided cooler things (8.5 x 11 pyrex insulated cooler is what we use) in our CHECKED bags. I have also packed boxes of cereal, tuna packets, loads of snack foods - cookies, bars, flat fruit, oatmeal, etc.

As for the carry-ons, I pack PB&J sandwiches (we like them on pancakes, so I usually make a couple sandwiches and then take the extra pancakes to make fresh sandwiches the next day), fruit, chips, bars, candy bars, etc.

I'm sure if anyone looked at all of our bags together they'd wonder what was up! I does look like I'm packing for a wilderness camping trip with all the food, but I don't like to chance finding what I need.

You just can't take a bottle of water, juice, etc. as carry on, but you can purchase those after security.

Happy flying!

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I am planning a trip and am wondering I can pack food in my checked luggage? I have read that I can't bring any food on the plane unless I buy it after I go through security.

Thanks!

Diane

I always assume I can't eat the airline meal (if one is offered), because I have 6 allergy restrictions besides gluten intolerance. So I bring in my carry-on luggage (my backpack or large purse) a peanutbutter and banana wrap on a rice tortilla or canned sardines and rice cakes plus a variety pack of dried fruits. I usually pack in my checked luggage a couple of loaves of my favorite gluten-free bread and more canned meats or fish. I have in the past packed a jar (plastic) of my favorite peanut butter. However, since I usually fly to Maui, where I can find everything I need at a health food store near the airport, now I only take what I can't buy there (my favorite bread).

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Don't try to take yogurt - they consider it a liquid. I had to dump mine out :(

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I recently flew to Israel and on the plane I took:

-- hard boiled eggs

-- those individual size containers of peanut butter -- they're small enough to go right in your ziplock bag.

-- nuts

-- glutino cereal bars (the closest I've found to a regular Nutrigrain bar)

-- other nut bars

-- a banana

-- a couple of apples

-- candy

-- several individual packs of salad dressing

Lol... I had more bars, peanut butter, salad dressing, and those foil packs of tuna stashed in my checked bag. I was hesitant to bring the tuna on board because of the smell.

I did order gluten-free meals in both directions which were pretty bad. :blink: I did eat the fruit and salad (with my own dressing) from the meal, picked at the chicken, then ate two of my eggs, the banana, and a snickers bar. I think my non-gluten-free neighbor was jealous. :D

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I have also taken a thermos and dry hot cereal with dried fruit and nuts. Beg hot water from a coffee shop or your flight attendent, close up, let it sit for an hour, and you have cooked cereal. I would imagine you could do the same with the Thai rice noodle version of ramen...

If it's international, make sure you eat any fresh food before landing (fruit, etc).

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If it's international, make sure you eat any fresh food before landing (fruit, etc).

Yes, I should have mentioned that. Although....even if you do you can still get nabbed at customs. Last year dd and I went to Paris, and we brought several tangerines to eat on the plane coming home. We ate them an hour or so before we landed at Dulles. So there we were in the customs line and I looked down and there was a cute little beagle sitting at my feet. He's one of the food/agricultural product search dogs. My first reaction was "awwww how cute."

Um... turns out that he sits to "alert" the customs officer that he's smelled some contraband. :ph34r: Lol.. apparently citrus is such a strong smell that he sniffed us out right away because the odor was still on our hands and in our carry-on. :lol:

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I too carry a lot of food...necessity ! I've been STARVING in airports waiting for flights...really sucks.

Also - don't take those small cans of tuna - I've taken one through once and had one confiscated once.

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When we came home from Virginia I had pasta, cookies, peanut butter, Kind bars, Pure bars and cake/cookie mix in my checked luggage with no problems. Also, in my carry on I had kind bars and a bottle of water (although the water was for my son..and then I drank it :P)

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I always take a sandwich (or several) and some fruit or snacks. Once I had the small freezer pack in my soft-sided lunchbox confiscated... even tho I'd called the airline before hand and was assured it would be okay.

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Thank you for this very timely and helpful topic!! I'm taking my first flight since going gluten-free at the end of the month and have been brainstorming what I can take on the plane. (it's just from NorCal to Seattle so not too long.)Do you think individual apple sauce and individual hummus count as liquid like yogurt does? I'm bringing gluten-free instant oatmeal packets in my luggage for breakfast at the hotel and have already called and asked for a microwave in my room, so I feel ok about what happens when I get there. Plus I'll have a car and Seattle is a major city so a health food store should be easy enough to find. In many ways I'm excited - I love a challenge. :)

This forum is so beyond wonderful, there are no words. :)

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On various flights I have carried on hard boiled eggs, carrot and celery sticks, gluten-free crackers, gluten-free pretzels, sliced cheese, nuts, raisins, Larabars, Kind bars, oranges, apples, and bananas with no problems at security. I do tend to stick to things that are easily identified as food, and not liquid or gels. Even TSA can successfully identify a carrot stick as a non-threatening object. Avoid relying on peanuts as sometimes you'll be asked not to eat them because of people with life-threatening peanut allergies on the plane. Don't pack PB&J as your only food and avoid nut mixes with peanuts if you're planning on eating in-flight.

I've also found bananas for sale at Starbucks, nuts and trail mix with no gluten ingredients at news stands, and gotten containers of plain, steamed rice at Chinese fast food places in the airport.

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Yes, I should have mentioned that. Although....even if you do you can still get nabbed at customs. Last year dd and I went to Paris, and we brought several tangerines to eat on the plane coming home. We ate them an hour or so before we landed at Dulles. So there we were in the customs line and I looked down and there was a cute little beagle sitting at my feet. He's one of the food/agricultural product search dogs. My first reaction was "awwww how cute."

Um... turns out that he sits to "alert" the customs officer that he's smelled some contraband. :ph34r: Lol.. apparently citrus is such a strong smell that he sniffed us out right away because the odor was still on our hands and in our carry-on. :lol:

I had the same experience when returning from London last October, except I had my carry on packed with delicious gluten-free bread I had bought to bring home. Bread is perfectly legal to bring in but they had that cute little beagle sniffing everyone out in the arrivals hall. He promptly sat down in front of my bag and I had to explain to customs what the alert was. They all laughed when I told them I had it packed to the brim with gluten free bread!

The beagle is very cute and very good at his job! :lol:

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Thank you for this very timely and helpful topic!! I'm taking my first flight since going gluten-free at the end of the month and have been brainstorming what I can take on the plane. (it's just from NorCal to Seattle so not too long.)Do you think individual apple sauce and individual hummus count as liquid like yogurt does? I'm bringing gluten-free instant oatmeal packets in my luggage for breakfast at the hotel and have already called and asked for a microwave in my room, so I feel ok about what happens when I get there. Plus I'll have a car and Seattle is a major city so a health food store should be easy enough to find. In many ways I'm excited - I love a challenge. :)

This forum is so beyond wonderful, there are no words. :)

Its actually liquid and goo. Thats why you can't take liquid makeup, jello, applesauce, hummus, etc. Those little hummus containers might fit in your baggie.

You can get almond butter in the little packs that fit in your baggie and those might work if they just say no peanuts.

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Thank you for this very timely and helpful topic!! I'm taking my first flight since going gluten-free at the end of the month and have been brainstorming what I can take on the plane. (it's just from NorCal to Seattle so not too long.)Do you think individual apple sauce and individual hummus count as liquid like yogurt does? I'm bringing gluten-free instant oatmeal packets in my luggage for breakfast at the hotel and have already called and asked for a microwave in my room, so I feel ok about what happens when I get there. Plus I'll have a car and Seattle is a major city so a health food store should be easy enough to find. In many ways I'm excited - I love a challenge. :)

This forum is so beyond wonderful, there are no words. :)

I've had hommus confiscated at the airport. You might get away with an individual sized portion packet though.

Make sure you take plenty of food. I recently flew from Frankfurt to Melbourne and the airline forgot to load my gluten free meal onto the plane during the stop-over in Hong Kong. They offered me a diabetic meal instead (pasta) which I declined. Luckily I was carrying enough snacks to last me for days so it wasn't an issue. But if I had been relying on the airline meal I would have been cranky.

You need to allow for travel delays too. My friends recently had engine trouble and their flight wasn't able to take off. The passengers were off-loaded but they weren't allowed to leave the international terminal because the airline didn't want to unload the baggage and re-check all the passengers back in. They were trapped in the terminal for 14 hours before their international flight was finally able to take off. The airline gave out food vouchers but they could only be used at the cafes in the terminal and the gluten free choices are not great.

There are incidents where people can be stuck at ariports for days-like the volcanic ash cloud over Europe, or snow storms, etc. SO you really need to be prepared.

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I am planning a trip and am wondering I can pack food in my checked luggage? I have read that I can't bring any food on the plane unless I buy it after I go through security.

Thanks!

Diane

I assume you are in the US. If you bring food through the TSA check-point, declare it to the screener as medical supplies before you place it on the belt. (Yes, the foodstuff consitutes your medical supplies because it is a treatment for your medical condition). You do not have to tell the screener your diagnosis, you only have to declare the food as medical supplies.

The TSA may want to x-ray and swab the food containers. I'd recommend against letting them open anything because of the possibility of contamination. Also, I'd recommend not bringing the liquids through that you can buy past the checkpoint. That might irritate the screeners.

Having said all that, TSA is notorious for making up rules at the last minute, or reinterpreting rules in new and unique ways. You may get a screener who refuses to let anything through. If so, ask for the supervisor.

You can also print out the information on the TSA web site that discusses the screening of medical supplies. It may help.

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I travel a lot with my husband and I bring a ton of food with me. I bought this cooler on wheels at Costco which is the size of a carry on bag.

I pre cook meals and put it all in the ziplock disposable dishes. I bring as much as I can stuff in my cooler so I dont have to worry about cooking for a few days.

I bring muffins, cottage cheese, little yogurts, salads, salad dressing, dinner, etc. I bring whatever I make.

Now yes I have had to take everything out of my cooler before which doesnt bother me as long as they dont take it. Also if you get a doctors note they really dont bug you to much.

I always have trouble flying out of Dulles, WA but they never take anything from me.

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CAUTION: Dangerous pears! :P

If you get a doctor's note, and declare everything to the screening agent, you have a much higher chance of not having things thrown away. TSA does keep changing their rules, and not all of the individuals are caught up on a daily basis. There are a lot of things to keep track of. I keep a doctors note AND a copy of the latest TSA regulations regarding special diets found here:

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/index.shtm

EDIT: This is specifically what I print and carry: http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/special_needs_memo.pdf

Then I highlight the words, "Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;"

Expect that all of your food will be x-rayed <_<

(Since I am still digestively delicate, I travel with juices, yogurt and smoothies. I've never had to toss anything)

Some tips:

-Get a doctors note and put it on top of the bin with all of your food/questionables (like yogurt).

-Say, "I have a medical condition that requires these items. Here is my doctors note"

-Have all "borderline" items in one place and declare them. I've had some screeners care less about canned pears and some test them for explosives.

-Be prepared to take longer and be pulled aside so they can screen your questionables.

-A screener with touch all of your stuff. Make sure it's packaged/wrapped in a way that it can be handled safely.

-Smile and expect that not everyone will "get it". Some will. =) Be patient.

Happy travels!

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