I am flying from Seattle to Hilo, Hawaii next week and would like to take some homemade beef jerky in a vacuum-sealed bag. Can I take it in my carry-on with Hawaiian Airlines?

  • Overseas the answer would be no, but being from inside USA, i can't say. i wasn't allowed to bring a air-sealed, EU quality certified, bought in supermarket deer ham slices, but i was coming from EU (althought oficially it says only pig or raw meat from unkown source is banned). – CptEric Nov 17 '16 at 8:31
  • Are you asking if you can take the food into the plane, or are you asking if you can bring the food into the country after the plane has landed? – user46435 Nov 17 '16 at 9:34

Hawaii has special agriculture rules to protect the islands from pests and diseases that are present elsewhere. Here's the relevant information (I've omitted plant and animal rules) from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture on Traveling from the U.S. Mainland to Hawaii:


Agricultural items include all plants, plant parts, animals, microorganism cultures, soil, and related containers and packing materials.

  • All agricultural items must be declared on the “Plants and Animals Declaration Form,” which is distributed and collected by flight attendants prior to landing in Hawaii.

  • All agricultural items must be presented for inspection at the Agricultural Inspection Counter located near the exits in the baggage claim area.

  • All plant material must be free of soil, insect pests and signs of disease.


In general, foods that are cooked, canned, frozen or commercially processed and/or packaged are allowed to be transported to Hawaii, as long as the product is arriving from within the U.S.

Frozen or chilled meats are also allowed to be transported to Hawaii as long as the meat originated from within the U.S.

Manufactured food products are not required to be declared or inspected.

As you can see on the form, they're mainly interested in fruits and vegetables, plants, soil, and animals, but the website specifically mentions "commercially processed" foods, not homemade jerky. As such, it would be safest to declare it to a specialist when you arrive in Hawaii.

As noted by Newton, it is permitted by TSA airport security.

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    It might be worth calling out this important item: Manufactured food products are not required to be declared or inspected. – Michael Hampton Nov 17 '16 at 15:45

As per the TSA guidelines there won't be any issues as long as your beef jerky isn't stored inside some liquid etc.

You may transport this item in carry-on or 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. To help officers get a clear look at your bag and reduce the need for additional screening, we suggest you pack your bag in neat layers (layer of clothes, layer of electronics, layer of clothes, layer of shoes, etc.) and wrap cords tightly around electronics items.

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.

source : http://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_results.aspx?search=beef%20jerky

The general rule of thumb is that if it's not a liquid/aerosol and just a simple eatable snack, it would be allowed.

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    The bigger issue is agriculture rules, not security. If the OP tells us where he/she is coming from, we can advise on the appropriate rules. – Zach Lipton Nov 17 '16 at 5:50
  • Correct, I assumed he has homemade/cooked sealed edible beef jerky as a snack or use later on. I personally have taken homemade meals (1-2 weeks supply) on international travels in checked-in luggage; my departing country has had no issues in taking such things contrary to the case where they didn't allow medicine even though I had a doctors' prescription with me. – Newton Nov 17 '16 at 5:55
  • @Newton homemade or store bought is irrelevant. The relevant part is importing agricultural products or food into another country. Most countries have very strong rules and restrictions about that. Of course if it's only meant for use during the flight there's no problem, as long as he doesn't try to take it through customs. – jwenting Nov 17 '16 at 7:03
  • @ZachLipton Thanks for the comments. I am taking a domestic flight (from Seattle), so I don't think I will have any problems with customs or international rules. I do want to take the jerky for hiking though ... – FlyingTurbine Nov 17 '16 at 7:22
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    @jwenting Homemade or store-bought is relevant for this, see Zach's answer. (+1 to the answer as the question was specifically about carry-on). – Relaxed Nov 17 '16 at 8:49

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