airport security checkpoint
Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Powders to Be Further Restricted By Transportation Security Administration on International Flights To the United States

If you are traveling on an international flight to the United States and are carrying a “powder-like substance” in a container which is at least 12 ounces, you will be required to place it in checked baggage effective as of Saturday, June 30, 2018, as you may experience a more extensive screening process; and you should prepare for additional screening of your property and personal electronic devices.

Powders to Be Further Restricted By Transportation Security Administration on International Flights To the United States

This new restriction may be considered an extension of this current restriction on protein powders or energy powders which is already in effect:

Powder-like substances greater than 12 oz. / 350 mL must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening. They may require additional screening and containers may need to be opened. For your convenience, we encourage you to place non-essential powders greater than 12 oz. in checked bags.

“The TSA’s new scrutiny about powders in carry-on luggage stems from a foiled plot to blow up a passenger plane in Australia,” according to this article written by Rene Marsh and Madison Park for CNN. “The would-be attackers planned to place the improvised explosive device on an Etihad Airways flight last July, but the device didn’t get past the airline’s check-in desk.”

Powders in carry-on bags may require secondary screening; and if the powder cannot be cleared by officials of the security checkpoint at the airport, it will be prohibited from being carried into the cabin of the aircraft.

  • Powder-like substances are described as fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing or disintegration of a solid substance — with flour, sugar, ground coffee, spices, powdered milk and cosmetics as a few of many examples.
  • Certain powders will be exempt from secondary screening — including but not limited to baby formula, medically necessary powders and human remains.
  • For passengers who are departing from the United States or its territories, the Transportation Security Administration has already implemented procedures for powder-like substances at security checkpoints.


This new restriction may likely not affect you, as 12 ounces or 350 milliliters is approximately the size of a standard can of soda in the United States. I do not personally recall ever carrying that much “powder-like substances” with me on international flights — except for the time I brought back paprika from Hungary, I suppose. Somehow, this new restriction seems like yet another way to further inconvenience passengers without really improving their safety or security — as with the restriction on liquids and gels and taking off shoes at airport security checkpoints — but what do I know?

Still, you are encouraged to arrive early to the airport to allow enough time for the screening process, as there are no changes to items allowed in carry-on and checked baggage.

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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