The TSA Just Issued Its Final Verdict on Peanut Butter

The announcement sparked a social media debate.

The TSA won't budge. According to the agency, peanut butter is still a liquid—even if plenty of people on Twitter seem to disagree.

In a tweet that has since gone viral, podcaster Patrick Neve jokingly complained about having his jar of PB confiscated when going through airport security. The reason? It's a liquid, and therefore he couldn't carry more than 3.4 fluid ounces of it.

"I tried to take peanut butter through airport security," reads the tweet. "TSA: 'Sorry, no liquids, gels, or aerosols.' Me: 'I want you to tell me which of those things you think peanut butter is.'"

Soon, the social media post received millions of views. So far, it has racked up 10.4 million of them together with a long thread of replies—mostly by fellow indignant travelers, who caught the opportunity to share their own PB-related TSA stories and takes.

The TSA, though, stood by its point unphased, yet matching Neve's playful tone.

"You may not be nuts about it," the TSA wrote in an Instagram post's caption, "but TSA considers your PB a liquid. In carry-on, it needs to be 3.4 oz. or less." The post itself features a jar of peanut butter placed next to the definition of a liquid. "A liquid has no shape and it takes a shape dictated by its container."

According to one Instagram user that replied to the post, by that definition, so are cats. Instead of finding the argument's fallacies, some users proceeded to share their own personal experience involving TSA and peanut butter, and one of them brought up what sounds like an actual paradox.

"I was getting on a flight to go back to college. I had some bread and peanut butter," wrote user @TopUmbreon. "TSA [m]ade me throw out my PB. She offered to let me make a sandwich with it first. Which begs the question, if I had used up the entire jar to make sandwiches, why would that have been ok?"

Another person shared their pity-victory story: "My mom talked her way into bringing on her pasta sauce by starting to cry when they called her sauce liquid or gel," they wrote.

But it's not really about peanut butter or pasta sauce or your favorite jar of artisanal honey. As the New York Times reports, TSA officials are still abiding by the laws set after 9/11 to prevent the risk of explosives aboard. However, travelers around the US and the world are still confused about how that would apply to such mundane items.

In the end, though, it seems like it's really a matter of semantics—or physics, rather.

"My favorite was taking ice on board (to chill bacon, long story)," reads another tweet in the thread. "TSA: Sir, you can't take liquids on board. Me: Ice is a solid, not a liquid. TSA: Well it won't be solid when you board the plane. Me: It's a solid at the checkpoint! (refills ice from champagne bar in lounge)."

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.