A short time back this questiion was posed to me. We now have a son living in the United States and plan to visit him for Easter. I want to take him some of his favorite foods like cakes and pies, along with a few other items.

If I can’t carry them on it’s no use trying to transport them. But I am concerned about what foodstuffs can be carried on and what is restricted. Can you help us?

The answer depends upon which foods and how they are packaged. While this is a common question from those planning to drive over the border, because of the carry-on size restrictions from most airlines it is not as frequent a inquiry from air travelers.

But it seems that many people do like to take favorite foods, or bring back specialty food products they may discover at their destination.

The easiest to isolate are liquids because the rule relating to 100 ml. containers which must fit in only one 1 litre bag has been around a long time now, and most are aware of this.

What many don’t understand is that this includes sauces and spreads, which are at their core mostly liquid. This includes foods like peanut butter, salsas, jams, jellies, and soups. Even the idea of taking a gift of our famous maple syrup can only be take in containers bigger than the 100 ml. size if it is packaged in a checked in bag.

While you can take his favorite cake or pie, you need to know that they may very well be subject to additional screening. Therefore like gifts, don’t overwrap the box you are carrying them in. While not prohibited, there is a chance you will be asked to open the container so security can examine the contents.

I am aware of travellers who have run into serious challenges at the border for simple transgressions of the rules.

Always err on the side of caution.