The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun scrutinizing cosmetic powders, spices and protein mixes that exceed 12 ounces, the standard volume of a soda can.
The TSA's new regulation regarding powders packed in carry-on luggage has resulted from a foiled plot to blow up an airplane in Australia, an airline official told CNN. The attackers had planned to sneak an improvised explosive device onto an Etihad Airways flight last July, but the airline's check-in desk spotted the makeshift bomb.
Now, containers of powder will be subject to additional screening when packed in a carry-on bag. If TSA officers are unsure of what the powder is, they may discard it or transfer it into checked baggage. To avoid having your belongings thrown out, the TSA has asked passengers to limit their powdered substances to no more than 12 ounces. In Canada, powder and granular material were added to the list of banned flight items in November 2017, although they do allow baby formula, protein powder, tea, and coffee in any quantity.
The new rule regarding powder will go into effect on June 30 on international flights bound for the United States, said TSA spokesman Michael England. A TSA official added that "the Australia plot contributed to the current focus on powders," though the concern is not new. When asked why the ban has taken a year to implement, the TSA stated that the agency "wanted to assess the threat" and that "testing needed to be done, discussions and coordination were necessary." Adding that, "We feel like we moved at the right pace."
In an email, England told CNN that most international carriers "have been doing this voluntarily since last year." In April, the agency finished enacting stronger regulations for carry-on screening, which include separating items like food or powder that might "clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine." The agency has warned passengers that "items that cannot be identified and resolved at the checkpoint are prohibited from entering the cabin of the aircraft."
"TSA is communicating with our international partners to ensure last points of departure airports align with pre-clearance requirements and our domestic procedures as part of our efforts to raise the global aviation security baseline," England said.
New TSA measures also include requiring travelers to "remove all electronics larger than a cell phone" from carry-on bags before the screening.