You can blame Richard Colvin Reid, the convicted shoe bomber, for the requirement that you take off your shoes before going through an airport security checkpoint.
And the requirement that you unpack your laptop when going through a checkpoint is due to tips the Transportation Security Administration received about a year ago that terrorists may be trying to hide explosives in computers and other electronic devices.
So why are some TSA officers asking travelers to unpack food from carry-on bags before putting the luggage through an X-ray scanner? No, it is not in response to terrorist attempts to hide explosives in a Twinkie.
TSA officials say there is no new policy about unpacking snacks from a carry-on bag. Instead, it is a response to travelers trying to avoid paying a fee to check luggage by cramming as many belongings as possible into their free carry-on bags.
TSA agent at EWR was ordering people to remove all food from carry-on bags at screening. I’ve never heard of that before— Domini Clark (@saradomini) January 29, 2018
The request that travelers unpack food is an effort to unclutter your luggage so that the X-ray scanners can get a better view of the items inside your carry-on bags.
“TSA officers may provide additional instruction to remove items from your carry-on bag such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine,” said TSA spokesman Matt Leas.
Because of the limits of the X-ray scanners, President Trump recently signed a spending bill that included $64 million to buy and test new airport scanners that rely on computed tomography to check carry-on bags.
The CT technology — long used in hospital settings — lets the scanners view the contents of a bag in three dimensions, allowing security officers to flip the image on the screen 360 degrees, without having to unpack a bag.
Going thru airport screening lane at San Antonio now, the TSA asked me if I had a lot of snacks in my carry on bag. I looked at my belly and asked if he was profiling me ! Hahaha!— iedward (@iedward) March 8, 2018
No snacks in my bag sir! He said snacks not banned yet, but could be next. Yikes!! pic.twitter.com/PSMuJUdQ83
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