snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » Food » Fruitcake and airport security

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Fruitcake and airport security
Adelaide
Remembrances of Things Bass


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Adelaide   E-mail Adelaide   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I heard someone on the radio saying that fruitcake is banned by airport security because the x-ray machines can't "see" through it. That sounded fishy to me, and a little searching shows varied opinions. This article from 2003 mentions Canadian airports, and says that the dessert is banned because the X-ray can't see through it. This article from 2004 again mentions Canadian airport security, but says that because the fruitcake is so dense, it could hide a weapon and needs further checking. That to me suggests that it isn't impossible to see through, but difficult or questionable. Yet this article also from 2003 just says to be aware that your fruitcake will be x-rayed. CNN weighed in as well.

I'm not sure what's more troubling, that x-ray machines can't see through a baked good to detect metal, or that people would eat a baked good that was so dense that an x-ray machine can't detect metal through it.

--------------------
Natural selection is a beguiling counterfeiter of deliberate purpose. - Richard Dawkins

Posts: 620 | From: Alaska | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Singing in the Drizzle
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Singing in the Drizzle     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I don't know. I alway thought that fruitcakes were a weapon.
Posts: 597 | From: Bellingham, WA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
have yourself a Merry Little Galaxy
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for have yourself a Merry Little Galaxy     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Sounds fishy to me, too - I'd be a bit worried if a security x-ray couldn't see through a humble foodstuff (if you consider fruitcake to be a food [Wink] )

I thought maybe the packaging could be a problem - if the cake is sealed in foil, it might interfere, but according to this:

quote:
X-rays easily penetrate metals that have low atomic
number, like aluminum

so that probably isn't it.

When I first read the heading, I thought that security had a problem with the coins that are traditionally baked into cakes - then I remembered you put coins in Christmas pudding, not cake...

Little Galaxy

--------------------
I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains - that's why I live in Melbourne, where it always bloody rains.

Posts: 632 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jay Tea   E-mail Jay Tea   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My Mum's fruit cakes are so dense they have an event horizon [lol]

--------------------
This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

Posts: 6552 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
dlloyd
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for dlloyd     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Of course X rays can penetrate fruitcake.

Airport scanners have difficulty distinguishing traditional British Christmas Puddings from Semtex...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/42377.stm

Posts: 99 | From: Dundee | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jay Tea   E-mail Jay Tea   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Judging by your location dlloyd, you'd know [lol]

--------------------
This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

Posts: 6552 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Singing in the Drizzle
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Singing in the Drizzle     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The problem maybe that airports do not just X-ray stuff anymore, but also use ultra-sound. The fruitcake may look like a very dark blob using ultra-sound.
Posts: 597 | From: Bellingham, WA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mochrie99
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 208 posted      Profile for Mochrie99   Author's Homepage   E-mail Mochrie99   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I think you all are missing the point here...is there a person in this vast universe who actually EATS fruitcake? [Big Grin]

Mochrie "I certainly don't!" 99

Posts: 80 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Joseph Z
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Joseph Z   E-mail Joseph Z   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Why not? I've had it before. It's yummy.

--------------------
Joseph Z

Posts: 1356 | From: Woodbridge, VA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Die Capacitrix
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Die Capacitrix     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Not just fruitcake:
quote:
Due to their organic contents, foods like cheese, chocolate or fruitcake can be mistaken as explosives by bomb-detection machines.
quote:
Do not stack books – spread them out. Bomb detectors cannot scan books that are clumped together.
The last time we flew we had a ship's clock in one of our suitcases. It wasn't ticking, but I'm sure the mechanics and the size (about 6"/15 cm in diameter) ensured that security would want a closer look. The bag was opened on both flights (TSA approved indicator lock). Only once did we get the little pamphlet telling us that our suitcase had been searched.

--------------------
"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces." Judith Viorst

Posts: 1082 | From: Luzern, Switzerland | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bettie Page Turner
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bettie Page Turner   E-mail Bettie Page Turner   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I would think that the radiation would help make the cakes more digestible. [Razz]

--------------------
You fail to consider, for such is the tyranny of fashion, that the swan is not a slim animal... -Jincy Kornhauser, Melinda Falling

Posts: 1762 | From: Charleston, West Virginia | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 221 posted      Profile for Signora Del Drago     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I agree with Joseph Z. My aunt made the best fruitcake. Yummy! I knew I was finally considered to be an adult when I got my very own fruitcake in my Christmas package from her. After she died, I got her recipe, but I never made any because it is very difficult and time-consuming. Lazy, lazy me! Also, I was afraid it wouldn't turn out right, and then everyone would be disappointed. My mother used to keep what was left of hers after Christmas in the freezer and only served it to special people. A friend used to request it when she came to visit in August. We tried to make it last until the next Christmas when we would be getting another one.

Signora Del "There is more than one fruitcake in the world!" Drago

--------------------
"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
quiltsbypam
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for quiltsbypam   E-mail quiltsbypam   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I always thought fruitcake was best used as a doorstop. But apparently, there are people who have a different opinion:
http://www.syracuse.com/search/index.ssf?/base/living-0/1135762991302900.xml?syrlifoo

But maybe the TSA agrees with the majority opinion?

But if they can't "see" through a fruitcake, what else is out there that they can't see through?

--------------------
"No Biblical hell could ever be worse than the state of perpetual inconsequence." Beatrice in Dangerous Beauty

Posts: 1816 | From: Cayuga County, NY | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Chimera     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Its odd what they'll pull you for. My two earliest airport horror stories happened back in the 80s. One was for a blue, rubber knife (which was perhaps understandable until the staff realized what it was and still prohibited it). The other was a box of chocolates that my parents snuck in my bag. Evidently yummy eddibles are occasionally confused with dangerous weapons.

--------------------
"The question for joining the protected forum for real magicians should be:

What is the use of women?"
Steve W. from JREF's 'This is no fun'

Posts: 7622 | From: North Carolina | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Victoria J
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Victoria J   E-mail Victoria J   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The version I heard was that marzipan has an identical density to semtex. This was the reason given by a friend of a friend ( [Roll Eyes] I know, I know. I do know her. I would not necessarily trust the information) as to why she had not been allowed to take a wedding cake when getting married abroad. Possibly this is just a way for the holiday company to insist you buy the cake through them...

If this was true it would make marzipan one of the most suspicious innocuous items around - the density of semtex and an almond smell that is indicative of cyanide bombs. If you ever what to ensure a package is intercepted send marzipan and watches.

Victoria J

--------------------
Post accompanied by maniacal laughter.

Posts: 577 | From: London, UK | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
00-Saleen
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for 00-Saleen     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Remember, what the x-rays, gamma ray scanners, and their ilk detect are densities, and it's up to the operator to tell what it is, often by physical inspection of the substance. True--the machine itself cannot tell the difference between food, narcotics, and explosives, it can only show what the rays are not penetrating. For example, a car's battery is extremely dense, and thus comes out as a black square. There have been instances where our mobile x-rays have seen bundles, that turns out to be concealed cheese (which can only be imported in certain quantities and must be declared).

There's a National Geographic from a few years ago that had a good image from Mexico's x-ray truck showing illegals in a banana truck. Neato stuff, to be able to see inside the trailer without opening the doors.

Posts: 239 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
just Lisa
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 504 posted      Profile for just Lisa   Author's Homepage   E-mail just Lisa   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I always assumed fruitcakes (the baked goods, not the half baked passengers) showed up on x-rays because they are usually wrapped (or baked) in metalic foil, or packed in tins.

--------------------
Never make fun of a man's fish, especially if it is 40 feet tall and aluminum.

Posts: 949 | From: Central California | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
BelleMorte
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for BelleMorte   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I actually like fruit cake. In fact, I have some in the fridge and might go cut a slice.

--------------------
"Cheating Hall Of Shame"-in honor of the dishonest.
Every driver, owner and crew chief has a place in our Hall, which won't be moving to Daytona Beach anytime soon. Lone exception? Kyle Petty, who hasn't won a race since 1754.

Posts: 545 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
BoKu
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for BoKu   Author's Homepage   E-mail BoKu   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Signora Del Drago:
...Signora Del "There is more than one fruitcake in the world!" Drago

Ah, so you're familiar with the theory that there is only one fruitcake in the universe, and it regularly travels backwards through wormholes in time so that it can occupy every instance where a fruitcake exists?
Posts: 2079 | From: California | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2