The TSA Told You That Liquids Are Dangerous

So weird:

A plane was forced to land when a passenger had an extreme allergic reaction to a leaking jar of mushroom soup, it was revealed today.

The soup fell on the man from an overhead locker on a Ryanair flight to Dublin from Budapest.

He reportedly suffered allergic swelling in his neck and struggled to breathe, forcing staff to seek emergency medical treatment.

Posted on August 28, 2008 at 12:25 PM • 32 Comments

Comments

gopiAugust 28, 2008 12:50 PM

If they'd just enforced the rules, this wouldn't have happened. I'm sure that leaking powdered mushroom soup wouldn't have caused these problems. Unless it was properly weaponized and got aerosolized somehow...

mcbAugust 28, 2008 12:56 PM

Can a TSA ban on peanut oil be far behind? Remember, if it saves one life it's worth it!

CameraManAugust 28, 2008 1:12 PM

This was Ryanair, an Irish low cost airline, so no TSA goons were involved in this.

A shame, because if the valiant troops of the TSA had been there, they would have stopped this catastrophe from occuring.

Remember, the TSDA is on the front lines of the fight against terroristic liquids! Support the TSA, or the next innocent American to be assulted by rogue grandmothers with weaponized muchroom soup could be YOU!

Clive RobinsonAugust 28, 2008 1:22 PM

It would appear that contary to popular myth the TSA's writ is not globe spanning.

It just directly affects flights, and passengers who are or might enter a U.S. Controled air space or other nation that has signed up to it's security ideals...

Unfortunatly as an indirect conciquence it apparently effects airport terminals through which these passangers board these or the connecting flights.

Belive it or not there are still some places in the world where it is possible to take a live animal on with you and what is required to keep it alive (water food etc). And I have been told that in some of the more relaxed places in other hemispheres of influence, the use of knives, smoking and even cooking still happens on flights...

John CampbellAugust 28, 2008 2:13 PM

Fiction, even fantasy, tends to _try_ for some semblance of realistic consistency in order to simplify the suspension of disbelief.

Unfortunately, reality is under no such constraint.

Obviously, the right kind of mushrooms could be brought on board and the spores produced could get something other than mere allergic reactions from passengers and (exposed) crew-persons.

Heck, someone could eat something that causes the gas-forming bacteria in their body to go wild...

JonAugust 28, 2008 2:30 PM

I was recently on a flight where there was also someone with a (serious, I presume) peanut allergy on board: passengers were asked to avoid opening any snacks with peanuts in, and the meals etc. served were all peanut free. Of course, all kinds of things can kill in the wrong circumstance...

MyCatAugust 28, 2008 2:45 PM

The odds of mushroom soup leaking have to be pretty low already, but for it to be leaking onto the sole person in the aircraft that happens to be allergic...

BetaAugust 28, 2008 2:51 PM

@Jon: "I was recently on a flight where there was also someone with a (serious, I presume) peanut allergy on board: passengers were asked to avoid opening any snacks with peanuts in, and the meals etc. served were all peanut free."

I'd happily go without snacks for the comfort and safety of a fellow passenger-- who asked nicely. If someone acted _entitled_ to a peanut-free environment, then I'd suggest the use of a filter mask and go back to munching peanuts.

The mushroom soup thing sounds like a freak accident, just one of those things.

BillyAugust 28, 2008 2:53 PM

Sounds like a diversion to get the authentic mushroom soup replaced with a can of poison gas masquerading as poison soup. BE AFRAID, VERY AFRAID. THE TERRORISTS ARE OUT TOT GET YOU!!!

Roland HeszAugust 28, 2008 3:11 PM

It is weird, as at the Budapest Airports - both - they confiscate liquids and all.
Probably the reasoning that as long as it's frozen it's not a liquid won :)

Mind you, I boarded the plain with 400ml liquid at Gatwick, and the girl behind me was told that her 250ml sauce has to go to the trashcan.

Now, where is the logic in that?

AnonymousAugust 28, 2008 3:43 PM

Time to ban the mushroom soup, even in those containers that are less than 3 oz.
What next... confiscating peanuts too?

George HamptonAugust 28, 2008 4:17 PM

Could this be the mushroom cloud that the Bushies have been warning us about?

gopiAugust 28, 2008 4:28 PM

Live animals on flights...

I was flying from Dubai to Kuwait, and there was an Afghan on board, I believe. He had a falcon. On his arm, wearing a hood. No cage of any kind. I can't imagine things would have been pretty if that hood had come off.


JuergenAugust 29, 2008 2:01 AM

Mind you, what IS the official TSA policy on frozen stuff? And how do they define "frozen"?

The whole "ban liquids" policy is improperly defined - they should at least state "liquid, at temperatures between 1 and 99 degrees Celsius"

mooAugust 29, 2008 2:01 AM

@CameraMan: "terroristic liquids"

Excellent! I think that is my new favorite phrase.

OlafAugust 29, 2008 3:10 AM

Fungus soup.
Lets get serious here if we're talking potential terrorism then this jar OBVIOUSLY contained a "Colloid solution of fungal particles capable of producing anaphylaxis in susceptible individuals".

AkosAugust 29, 2008 9:05 AM

According to hungarian papers it was frozen mushrooms, so the liquid rules don't apply ;-)
Also what I found in Budapest is that if you ask nicely they are usually reasonable, by if you're arrogant they'll screw you.
I had two 200ml bottles of some nice liquor I brought back as a present, and they didn't make much fuss about it after I asked them.
Also one morning I was the first at the baggage check just after they opened and there was no queue so I had a chat with the chaps. They told me, that you can now take on board small penknives, but they couldn't tell me where I could find some official confirmation about this (there are still huge transparent boxes full with confiscated corkscrews and nailfiles in the departure area near the check-ins)

StreakyAugust 29, 2008 9:19 AM

A fair example of the Titanic Co-incidence.

Two things though, if it was frozen soup in a jar:

1) It will likely thaw out during the journey. If liquids can pass security because they're frozen, any integrity afforded by the screening process is invalidated.

2) The expansion caused by freezing will likely compromise the integrity of the jar.

AkosAugust 29, 2008 9:55 AM

@Streaky:
"Two things though, if it was frozen soup in a jar:
1) It will likely thaw out during the journey. If liquids can pass security because they're frozen, any integrity afforded by the screening process is invalidated.
2) The expansion caused by freezing will likely compromise the integrity of the jar."

1) But if it was (as I suspect) frozen breaded mushrooms sealed in a plastic bag, then it looks solid enough at the check to not arise suspicion, but drips "oily liquid" when thawing

2) No Jar integrity problem, but the plastic bags you buy these deep-frozen food are mostly punctured, so the liquid can get out when thawing.

derfAugust 29, 2008 10:52 AM

As far as I know, the TSA has not been inspecting or banning baby power, salt, sugar, or other powdery substances. Based on the security level and the hassle we go through at airports, an anthrax or thermite attack should have happened on a plane by now. The lack of such attacks means that either the TSA is incredibly effective or we're all hyped up about nothing. You make the call...

Grey BirdAugust 29, 2008 11:31 AM

@gopi. Isn't an Afghan a dog? i.e. Afghan Hound. That would mean that they let on a dog accompanied by a falcon... ;-)

BAugust 29, 2008 1:59 PM

As a person with a life-threatening peanut allergy, I'm astounded by the lack of basic courtesy displayed here. Is it really worth risking someone else's life in order to be able to eat a package of peanuts? Personally, I would be glad to wear a mask in order to not inconvenience other people, but I wonder if the TSA would allow me to bring one or if they would consider it too suspicious.

BAugust 29, 2008 2:03 PM

Also, there is a pretty clear enlightened self-interest argument to be made here: does it inconvenience you more to not eat your snack, or to have your flight diverted when someone has a bad reaction? Because they would land the plane if someone was having a heart attack or other bad reaction, rather than just let them die.

MaiLDeadDropAugust 29, 2008 2:38 PM

@B wrote: "Because they would land the plane if someone was having a heart attack or other bad reaction, rather than just let them die."
I'm certain if they thought they could get away with it, they'd continue the flight to the scheduled destination. It just isn't cost effective to divert the flight. And I seem to recall a flight continuing to its destination with one less "soul on board" in the last year after a passenger expired mid-flight.

neillAugust 29, 2008 6:35 PM

peppersauce comes to my mind, combined with an aerosol you might get pepperspray!
wonder what kind of dangerous meals are served in planes, decreasingly so, thankfully
look at jails and how everything can get used as a weapon ...

RogerAugust 30, 2008 3:19 AM

@Jon, @B:
As Bruce is very interested in misperceived risks, mentioning the current panicky terror of peanuts is very apt.

The fact is, even on the more strident estimates, death from peanut allergy is about as rare as being struck and killed by lightning. On the CDC's figures, it is an order of magnitude rarer still. And that's just from allergic individuals actually eating peanut themselves; despite the hysteria, there is not a single proven case of fatal anaphylaxis from contact with another person who had eaten peanuts. (One case was widely reported in 2005, but subsequently found to be incorrect.)

Of course, an allergic reaction can be very unpleasant without being fatal. However, from minor incidental contact (e.g. shaking hands with someone who has just moments before been eating peanuts), reactions rarely exceed a mild tingling. It is possible to raise a small weal on unbroken skin of a peanut allergic person, but in one double-blind study, eliciting such a definite response required pressing peanut butter against the skin for 1 minute. Even then, only 2 out of 30 subjects (all known to be allergic) reacted so strongly.

It has also been claimed that significant anaphylactic reactions can be produced by inhaling airborne particles from nearby persons eating peanuts. However, no study so far has managed to confirm this allegation. One respected peanut allergy researcher (Dr. Hourihane) went so far as to say "The major problem when exposed like this is panic ..."

It seems it's not just terrorism that works on fear...

SSeptember 1, 2008 1:28 AM

Being allergic to mushrooms, I can honestly say that I wouldn't have wanted this to happen to me!

ObwonSeptember 1, 2008 10:43 AM

Once it all devolves to the point, where
coincidence and happenstance get highlighted as "at work saving lives", we're in serious trouble because we've
got a good indication that we've suspended too much our disbelief. (Yes that's Jewish as in "Chico and The Man")

"Weaponized Artichoke Frappiny Discovered in the nick of time"!

Obwon


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