Will I be permitted to pack a cheese grater in my carry-on bag for a domestic U.S. flight, or will this be considered a "potential weapon" and prohibited?

  • 9
    I realise that you're doing this probably because of no checked in luggage, but on first read I did start laughing imagining you sitting in your economy seat grating away at some cheese :)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 23:33

2 Answers 2


It probably depends on how your cheese grater is constructed. You can see the official list of prohibited items on the TSA web site. The most relevant section seems to be the "sharp objects" section, which lists:

  • Box Cutters
  • Ice Axes/Ice Picks
  • Knives - except for plastic or round bladed butter knives
  • Meat Cleavers
  • Razor-Type blades - such as box cutters, utility knives, and safety razor blades (disposable razors and their cartridges are permitted)
  • Sabers
  • Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches
  • Swords - cutting or thrusting weapons, including fencing foils

I suspect most cheese graters (like the first and second ones below) would not be technically classified as a sharp object.

sample cheese grater
(source: images-amazon.com)
sample cheese grater #2
(source: images-amazon.com)

However, others likely would be considered 'sharp objects'.

sample cheese grater #3
(source: images-amazon.com)

It also almost certainly depends on the judgement and mood of the person on duty who checks your bag.

I was once forbidden to take marshmallow cream in my carry-on, because it was "liquid." (Try pouring marshmallow cream, and then tell me its a liquid!)

  • 5
    I like how they differentiate between sabers and swords, and meat cleavers and knifes. I'm feeling safer already.
    – Stuart
    Commented Dec 25, 2011 at 1:45
  • 1
    That makes sense---I decided not to risk it because while my cheese grater looks like #2 above, I figured the judgment of whether it could be a "weapon" or not was pretty subjective. Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 16:12
  • 1
    @DerrickTurk Everything can be a weapon, it depends on the way you use it, it's not really subjective but in fact that's not relevant.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 15:37
  • 1
    FWIW "liquids" always includes gels and foams. As you say, it still depends a bit on the judgement of the individual, but being pourable is not the qualifying criterion. Marshmallow fluff differs from a bag of sugar or a jar of syrup only in its fine structure, but hey, the rules have to draw a line somewhere ;-) Tbh I'm slightly surprised fruit gets in, you could inject whatever liquid you like into a 'nana. Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 11:57
  • 2
    @Flimzy: FWIW I think that's a myth. Turns out the reason old glass is thicker at the bottom is that old glaziers were smart enough to put irregular panes in that way around instead of the other (weaker) way with the thinner edge lower. Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 19:18

According to the TSA's "Can I Bring..." web site (also available on their Mobile App) you CAN bring your Cheese Grater in either Carry-on or checked-in luggage.

Search Results For: cheese grater

Check or Carry-on

You may transport this item in carry-on baggage or in checked baggage. For items you wish to carry-on, you should check with the airline to ensure that the item will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane. Please be sure to wrap cords tightly around electronics items and pack your bag in neat layers (layer of clothes, layer of electronics, layer of clothes, layer of shoes, etc.) to help officers get a clear look at your bag.

Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.

This is potentially one of those situations where it would be worth carrying a print-out of that page showing that it's OK, just in case the TSA agents decided that it was not allowed.

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