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Can You Bring Cheese On A Plane?

Can you bring cheese on an airplane? Are the rules different for domestic and international flights? And just how long will cheese remain safe to eat when packed in your luggage? Read on for the answers.

 

Bringing Cheese On A Plane

Can You Bring Cheese on Domestic Flights Within the U.S.A.?

Carry-On Baggage:

Yes - limited amount for creamy cheeses (see details below)

Checked Luggage:

Yes

 

 

Can You Bring Cheese on International Flights Originating in the U.S.A?

Carry-On Baggage:

Yes - limited amount for creamy cheeses (see details below)*

Checked Luggage:

Yes*

 

*You can bring cheese on board and consume it during the flight. But you might not be able to bring cheese into your foreign destination (see details below).

 

Can You Bring Cheese Into The U.S.A. on an International Flight?

Carry-On or Checked Luggage:

 Yes in most cases (see details below)

 

 

How Long Will Cheese Last In Your Luggage?

Cheese – hard (e.g.,Cheddar, aged Gouda), cut into pieces

6 to 8 hours at room temperature

 

 

Cheese – soft (e.g., Brie, Camembert), cut into pieces

2 to 4 hours at room temperature

 

Sources: Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, StillTasty.com

 

BRINGING CHEESE ON A PLANE: FLIGHTS ORIGINATING IN THE U.S.A.

Can you bring cheese through airport security in your carry-on baggage?

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow you to bring cheese through airport security in your carry-on baggage. But depending on the type of cheese, you may be limited in how much you can bring on board.

Solid cheeses can be taken through airport security in any amount that will fit in your allowable carry-on baggage. Types of solid cheese that fall into this category include Cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, Colby, Gouda, Brick, Havarti and Jarlsberg. Sliced cheese, string cheese, cheese cubes and wedges of solid cheese are all permitted through the TSA checkpoint.

If the cheese is no longer in its original packaging, it should be wrapped or placed in a resealable bag or container with a secure lid. There is no limit to the quantity of solid cheese you can bring in your carry-on: You can pack as much solid cheese as you’d like and will fit into your allowable hand luggage.

Creamy and spreadable cheeses, on the other hand, can only pass through airport security in individual quantities of 3.4 ounces or less. Examples include Brie, Camembert, cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and cheese spreads. Creamy and spreadable cheeses fall under the TSA’s “3-1-1 liquids rule”, which requires that all liquids and gels in your carry-on luggage be stored in 3.4-ounce or smaller containers — all of which must fit into one quart-sized plastic bag. If you want to bring larger quantities of these cheeses on your flight, you’ll need to pack them in your checked luggage.

 

Read more: Here are the foods you can bring through airport security

 

Can you bring cheese on an airplane in your checked baggage?

Yes, you can bring cheese in your checked baggage when boarding a flight within the United States. And unlike the case with carry-on baggage, you can bring as much creamy or spreadable cheese as you’d like in your allowable checked luggage. For long flights, pack creamy or spreadable cheeses along with some ice or a frozen gel pack to keep them cold throughout the trip.

 

Can you bring cheese on an international flight leaving the U.S.A.?

Yes, you can bring cheese on an international flight departing from the U.S. — but depending on where you’re going, you may not be able to bring the cheese off the plane once you arrive at your destination.

If your intention is to bring the cheese onto the plane in your carry-on baggage and eat it during the flight, you’ll have no issues. The TSA applies the same rules for allowing cheese through security at U.S. airports, whether you are flying domestically or internationally.

But taking the cheese off the plane and bringing it into a foreign country is a different matter. The rules around bringing in dairy products can be strict in many countries. The United Kingdom, for instance, typically does not allow international travelers from outside the European Union to bring in cheese. Be sure to check your foreign destination’s rules before leaving.

 

BRINGING CHEESE INTO THE UNITED STATES

Can you bring cheese on an international flight back into the U.S.A.?

The United States generally allows travelers to bring most hard or semi-soft cheeses into the U.S. when arriving on a flight from a foreign country. In addition, feta cheese, brie, camembert, mozzarella and buffalo mozzarella will also pass through U.S. customs in most cases. Cheeses containing meat are typically not allowed, while ricotta cheese and cottage cheese may be prohibited, depending on the country of origin.

Note that even if the cheese is allowed, you must declare all foods that you bring into the United States — whether they are allowable or not —  to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and permit them to be inspected by a CBP agent. This can be a time-consuming process. The penalties for failing to declare your food items can be steep; bear in mind also that the CBP routinely conducts random screenings for arriving passengers.

 

FOOD SAFETY: HOW LONG WILL CHEESE LAST IN YOUR LUGGAGE?

Hard cheeses, such as Cheddar and aged Gouda, that have been cut into pieces will usually keep well for about 6 to 8 hours when stored at room temperature. Soft cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert and cream cheeses, will typically keep for 2 to 4 hours when cut into pieces and stored at room temperature. You can bring ice or a frozen gel pack to keep cheese cooler longer. But ice or gel packs in your carry-on luggage must be completely frozen when passing through airport security — if they are even partially thawed, the TSA screeners will likely bring them from you.

 

Note: While the above information is based on applicable Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guidelines at the time of publication, the final decision for whether to allow a food item through airport security or into the United States rests with the TSA and CBP officers on duty at the airport. Regulations also change frequently: For the latest information, check the US Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration websites.

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