Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Is jam a liquid?

I spent August in Europe, mostly on vacation in Ireland, where (among other things) I bought a jar of grapefruit marmalade at a farmers market. I wish I could tell you how good it is - but I can't.

After vacation in Ireland, I headed to Germany and then Bulgaria on business. As I was clearing security in Frankfurt Germany, I learned that they consider jam to be a liquid (or perhaps a gel), and impounded it. I didn't bother to argue - that's a pointless exercise, since they have no motivation to act rationally in the Germany any more than in the US.

Wikipedia defines a liquid as "a fluid that can freely form a distinct surface at the boundaries of its bulk material, which doesn't seem to include jam". The US TSA (which obviously has limited influence over German security) talks about the 3 ounce rules, but never defines (at least that I can find) what a liquid or gel is.

So next time, I guess I'll have to check my baggage - at least until they prohibit jam in checked baggage.


Blogger Mark O'Neill said...

Putting a jar of jam into checked luggage is surely a recipe for disaster! Maybe if you classified it as "jelly", in US terms, it would be not be seen as liquid.

The fact that an Irish airport would allow it through, but then a German airport would block it, is surely an argument for EU-wide standardisation of these rules.

In fact, defining the "liquidness" of jam sounds like just the kind of thing the EU loves to do, along with defining the curviture of bananas, etc.

10:26 AM  

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