TSA defends seizure of woman's cupcake

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PEABODY, Massachusetts - The federal Transportation Security Administration is defending its decision to confiscate a frosted cupcake from a woman flying from Las Vegas' airport.

The TSA says in a blog comment posted Monday that the cupcake was packed in a jar filled with icing, which is considered a gel under a policy designed to secure travelers from terrorists seeking to evade detection by using explosives made of plastics, liquids or gels.

Rebecca Hains, of Peabody, Massachusetts, was barred from taking her cupcake onto a plane last month when a TSA agent said icing in the jar exceeded amounts of gels allowed in carry-on luggage. Hains has called that "terrible logic." She claimed she had passed through Boston's Logan International Airport with two of the packaged baked goods with no problems.

Woman: TSA officer confiscated frosted cupcake

In their official statement, the TSA explained the difference between a cupcake and a cupcake in a jar. "I wanted to make it clear that this wasn't your everyday, run-of-the-mill cupcake," Bob Burns from the TSA Blog Team explained. He added that there have been several plots to blow up planes in the U.S. using gels and liquids, emphasizing why it is important to uphold the rules, even with something as mundane as a baked good with lots of frosting.

"Terrorists have moved to novel explosives disguised as common, everyday items," he wrote. "Our officers are regularly briefed and trained by TSA explosives specialists on how just about any common appliance, toy or doohickey can be turned into a dangerous explosive. When you think about it, do you think an explosive would be concealed in an ominous item that would draw attention, or something as simple as a cute cupcake jar?"

The TSA says travelers can take cakes, pies and cupcakes through security checkpoints but should expect they might get additional screening.