Going through airport security is probably never anyone's idea of fun, but the experience became more of a hassle than usual for one couple when airport security took issue with the breast milk they had packed.
The dad, who goes by Tamachan5 on Reddit, posted a message to the breastfeeding forum last week, questioning why TSA seemed to think that his wife's breast milk was "dangerous."
"So, TSA decided that my daughters lunch was dangerous and had to be discarded," he wrote, noting that up until that point, they had received excellent service from the airport staff.
The anonymous dad said that he, his wife, and their nine-month-old daughter had already passed through screening several times at several different airports on their travels.
However, things turned sour on their last leg.
"We were going through security when the female TSA agent checking the milk called the supervisor," he wrote. "I had noticed that unlike previous times where they checked the milk for a bit and then gave it to us after a couple of minutes, this time it was taking longer."
After an examination, he said, the supervisor said that "an alarm had gone off" and he would have to discard the milk.
"We asked if the baby could drink the milk in the offending bottle instead of being thrown away, but this was not acceptable," he wrote. "I got a pat down by an agent (very professional, mind you) and we were let trough [sic] after a while."
At the time, he wrote, he didn't want to cause trouble by arguing further, but wanted to know why his wife's breast milk was deemed too "dangerous."
"Why if the same expressed milk from my wife was used, on the same bottle, on the same container and with the same ice packs, on different dates, and we did not have a problem before, did they throw this particular milk?" he wrote. "TLDR : wondering why mothers milk was tossed by tsa and why they considered it 'dangerous' when we had passed though security several times with milk and had no problem before."
The TSA's website states that breast milk is allowed "in reasonable quantities" through the security checkpoint, but that travelers should remove these items from their carry-ons to be screened separately. The website also states that TSA may have to screen liquids for explosives or "concealed prohibited items."
While we don't know the details behind this anonymous family's experience, it wouldn't be the first time that breast milk has been an issue at airport security checkpoints. Last year, actress Rose Byrne had her breast milk confiscated by TSA, and in 2014, a California mom reached a settlement with TSA after airport security attempted to x-ray her breast milk. As Vice noted last year, the TSA has had difficulty handling breast milk in the past, due to sensitive equipment or rules that are interpreted differently amongst agents.
The bottom line is, breastfeeding and breast pumping are difficult enough, and throwing out breast milk can mean that an infant will have to go hungry because their mother may not be able to pump out more in time.