Can I bring fiber supplement powder like Metamucil on a plane in your carry-on, or must I check it?

Living in a post 9/11 wold, airline travelers are more and more aware of what they can and can’t take with them through airport security. When you pack a bag to travel, you should constantly evaluate each item that you pack in your carry-on to make sure that it will be allowed through airport security and into the cabin of the plane. At the same time, you should even look at what you pack into your checked bag as those get scanned as well, and there are often bags and travelers pulled from flights if there is something untoward in those checked bags.

 

Now, what about dietary fiber and the TSA?

The thing about the TSA (or any airport security) is that none of us want to be singled out or embarrassed at the security checkpoint. Because of this we often err on the side of caution and leave things at home that are perfectly valid for us to take along.

Most travelers get confused with what is allowed on a plane and through airport security because of the liquid rule. The liquid rule is:

You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage.

Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste that alarms during screening will require additional screening.

 

While soluble fiber forms a gel when combined with water, the powder form is not disallowed from being in your carry-on. I’ve even asked a flight attendant for a cup of water to mix a little fiber powder and take it if it was a really long flight. (I try to take my dietary fiber supplement at the same time every day to maintain regularity.) On my last trip from Canada to South Africa, I traveled with my Metamucil in my carry-on bag. This was a great time to test airport security and their scrutiny of fiber products as I connected through multiple countries on the legs there and back, including the United States, Hong Kong, and Dubai.

Oddly enough, the only airport security screeners that gave me any trouble were the agents at Toronto Pearson airport when I was DEPARTING on my trip. They pulled me over and asked me about the Metamucil which I had wrapped in a Metro shopping bag to make sure that there would be no spillage. They removed the Metamucil fiber from my carry on, and proceeded to run it through the scanner again, asked me to explain what it was before they shrugged and sent me off to catch my plane.

 

metamucil-in-shopping-bag-for-travels

Click on the image to get your own Metamucil. (Shopping bag not included.)

 

How can you reduce the likelihood of having trouble at an airport security checkpoint?

To minimize any risk of delays to my travels, I tried to follow the same procedure I would follow for medications including:

  • Keeping the contents of the medication/supplement in its original bottle
  • Not removing or damaging the printed labels of the product.
  • Keeping your prescription handy if it was prescribed to you.

This seemed to do the trick and got me out of security faster, and I didn’t have any troubles in the other cities I connected in.

 

The TSA web app is super easy to use.

The TSA also has a great app available on which you can check items that you want to take with you. It is called “Can I Bring” and is accessible on their website. The app will tell you if something you wand to bring onboard can go into your carry-on luggage, your checked luggage, both, or neither.

 

A screenshot of the TSA Can I Bring app.

A screenshot of the TSA Can I Bring app.

 

I typed “fiber” into the TSA “Can I Bring” app search box and it gave me some suggestions including, fiber, fiber supplements, and powdered fiber. This is indicative that the app has these fiber items already programmed into their word suggestion wheel.

The suggestion word wheel on the TSA "Can I Bring" app.

The suggestion word wheel on the TSA “Can I Bring” app.

 

I selected “fiber supplements (powder or tablet)” and got the green result below which means it is allowed to be taken through the checkpoint.

can-i-bring-result

Fiber supplements are a-okay to take onboard!

 

Interestingly enough, there was no reference to fiber gummies like the Vitafusion Fiber Well Fit Gummies I reviewed before, so to be thorough I searched for “gummies” and got the same approved notice for gummy vitamins which are very similar in nature to the fiber gummies.

can-i-bring-gummie

No problems for gummy fibers either it seems.

 

So it seems as if there is very little to worry about with regards to taking your dietary fiber onto the plane. I’d even warn that it is probably more important that you wrap that container in a plastic shopping bag in case it somehow opens up. You don’t want your swimsuit to have dietary fiber powder in weird places nor tons of white powder lining your suitcase in future travels!

The only thing I might recommend is to make sure that you don’t remove the fiber powder from its packaging, and be aware that it might still be subject to being searched, especially if you have a powder like this one I bought in a store in Columbus OH that looks like a mighty suspicious white powder.

White dietary fiber powder

Expect at least a quick swab of your bag to go into the machine that checks for banned substances.

Do you have any airport stories to share about taking your dietary fiber or other supplements through the security checkpoints?

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