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Woman who sued TSA over breast milk wins settlement

A South Bay woman who sued the Transportation Security Administration over the way agents treated her for trying to bring breast milk on a plane said she won a settlement.

The woman, Stacey Armato, said the TSA agreed to pay her $75,000 to settle the suit, as well as retraining all screeners to better treat travelers carrying breast milk.

"That's a big deal," she said in an interview. "I expect a lot of changes."

TSA officials declined to comment, saying the settlement has not been finalized and the agency still has 30 days to request a dismissal.

The suit is based on two incidents that happened in early 2010 when Armato tried to bring containers of breast milk on flights from Phoenix to Los Angeles. She is an attorney who flew regularly between the two cities.

She said she was harassed in the first incident when she asked that TSA agents not put the milk through an X-ray scanner. During the second incident, she produced a copy of the TSA rules to show screeners that the milk should not be screened with an X-ray scanner.

Instead, she said that screeners could use other techniques, such as swabbing the outside of the milk container for explosive residue.

Still, she said TSA agents kept her in a containment booth for 30 minutes while they tried to decide how to proceed. 

"I broke down crying in the middle of it," she said.

After the incident, the TSA apologized to Armato. Since then, the TSA said it has added bottled liquid scanners at every major airport in the country. The liquid scanners can analyze breast milk and many liquid medicines such as insulin.

In a statement, the TSA said: "When carrying breast milk through security checkpoints it is treated in the same manner as liquid medication. Parents flying with, and without, their child(ren) are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is presented for inspection at the security checkpoint."

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