Food inspections among new security measures at Honolulu airport

New security measures mean the food you bring in to the airport will get a closer look.

A viewer let us know via Report It that passengers at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport had to go through the extra screening Tuesday.

The Transportation Security Administration tells us it is now recommending that passengers arrive at the airport a little earlier as the new measures are being implemented — an extra 20 minutes in addition to the two hours ahead for a domestic flight.

You’ll still be allowed to bring food through the security checkpoint, but it might have to go through extra screening.

TSA calls the new screening process Enhanced Accessible Property Search. It was tested in 10 airports earlier this year, and is now being phased in here and across the country.

TSA officers will be asking passengers to take out any electronic devices bigger than a cellphone so they can be inspected more thoroughly.

With the enhanced search, any food items in your carry-on could be inspected.

“It’s not required that you remove your food at the checkpoint, but it’s encouraged as a way to facilitate our screening process to make sure that no one has hidden any explosives in their food,” explained TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz.

It’s common practice for Hawaii residents to bring home food, especially items that can’t be found on island, so KHON2 asked Koshetz, “Are you anticipating some more delays here with something like that?”

“Yes. In certain environments, we realize that a lot of food is coming through, and that’s when we do suggest that you just opt to put it in the bin, even though you’re not required to,” she advised.

Koshetz says sealed food items will usually not be opened, but anything suspicious will get an extra scanning or be swabbed for explosives. If officers still aren’t sure, then they will open a sealed container.

The new procedures were in place at Security Checkpoint 5 on the Diamond Head end of the main terminal for a few hours Tuesday morning, and could be expanded to other checkpoints Wednesday.

TSA could not say how long it would take for all security checkpoints in Hawaii airports to implement the new procedures. Koshetz says at some airports, it took weeks.

Travelers we spoke with were mixed on the enhanced measures.

“If you’re trying to bring food as a gift, it makes it more trouble,” said Ewa Beach resident Stephanie Lam. “There’s more things to think about in preparation when you’re packing to travel.”

Bridget Hughes, who is visiting from New Zealand, says she has “no problem with it whatsoever. Absolutely no problem. We have the same measures at home, and it’s really important for the security of the country.”

Koshetz says for the most part, travelers with TSA PreCheck will not be affected, but if anyone in that line has something determined to be suspicious, it will get extra screening.

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