Is Peanut Butter a Liquid? TSA Says Yes.

And the internet is aghast

Is peanut butter a liquid?
Is peanut butter a liquid?
Corleto Peanut butter

The TSA has taken a definitive stance on peanut butter. The consensus? It’s a liquid…and the internet is losing its collective mind over it.

“You may not be nuts about it, but TSA considers your PB a liquid. In carry-on, it needs to be 3.4oz or less. Make sure all your travel-sized liquids fit in one quart-sized bag. #PeanutButter,” the official TSA account tweeted out early last week alongside an image overlayed with the text, “A liquid has no definite shape and takes a shape dictated by its container.”

A seemingly uncontentious statement at face value, though, as originally reported by Travel + Leisure, the comments paint a far different picture.

“Sand and sugar would like a word about this definition of a liquid,” one user replied. “Liquids are pourable, peanut butter is not pourable…it’s more of a gel, which is a spreadable substance,” said another. “Does this same rule apply to chunky peanut butter?” asked a third.

Of course, the backlash only caused TSA to double down on their position, and later to throw queso into the discourse, too (spoiler alert: also a liquid).

For the uninitiated, back in August 2006 a very particular set of rules came into play regarding which liquids we’re allowed to have in our carry-ons, as well as how we’re allowed to have them in our carry-ons, following an attempted terrorist attack in Britain involving liquid explosives. The subsequent rules, which we’ve come to accept as the norm for nearly two decades now, are as follows:

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Every passenger is allowed to bring one quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in their carry-on bag and through the checkpoint, so long as they are in travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less. Those items must then go in a small bag that, when it comes time to pass through a TSA checkpoint, must be removed from the carry-on baggage. Further, any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste that sets off the alarm during screening will require additional screening, and all containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters must be checked.

In short, the rule has come to be known as 3-1-1: liquids must be in a 3.4-ounce or less container (3), all containers must be placed inside one clear quart-sized bag (1), of which each passenger is allowed one (1). And apparently it also applies to peanut butter.

That said, I’d be remiss not to point out that, with few exceptions, it is extremely weird to travel with a jar of peanut butter in your bag. Luckily, I’m not alone in that line of thinking:

“I’m fine with this rule. I don’t know why people need a huge jar of peanut butter in their carry-on,” one user commented. “Do they need a gallon milk jug in their carry-on too? NO, they don’t. Here’s an idea: peanut butter bars, single serve peanut butter packets.”


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