Claim: Airport security screeners required a woman to drink her stored breast milk before allowing her to board a flight.
Status: Sort of.
Example: [NewsMax.com, 2002]
Airport Screeners Order Mom to Drink Breast Milk
In the latest in a series of airport security nightmares, a woman flying from New York to Florida was forced to drink three bottles of her own breast milk before being allowed to board a flight at JFK International Airport – in an incident that has one prominent New York civil rights attorney ready to sue.
Elizabeth McGanny of Oceanside, N.Y., called WABC Radio’s Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby Tuesday morning to relate the story.
Guards at JFK’s Delta terminal first “patted me down and made me take my shoes off,” McGanny told the morning radio duo. “One security guard took my 4-month-old out of my arms and then they went through the baby’s diaper bag.”
There the guards discovered the three suspect bottles, McGanny said, and promptly ordered her to drink the contents.
“I’m not drinking that. It’s breast milk,” she replied. “They said, ‘Either drink all three bottles or you’re not getting on the plane.'”
[ . . .]
Origins: Many tales concerning the overzealousness of some airport security screeners have made their way into the news since more stringent airline boarding procedures were enacted after the
terrorist attacks on America. A combination of airport personnel abusing their positions of power and applying rules with an overenthusiastical literalness has led to farces such as the confiscation of a
The latest tale of outrage-provoking excess at the airport comes from an
Certainly a passenger’s being ordered (even in jest) to drink stored breast milk carried onboard for an infant is inexcusable (bottles can be security screened without requiring anyone to drink their contents), but unfortunately the NewsMax article achieves maximum sensationalism by omitting key details, leaving the reader with the impression that
Ms. McGarry was made to taste from each bottle, but was not forced to down the entire contents. She offered to squirt some milk from each bottle onto her arm, and lick it off, but that offer was declined. (She was concerned her saliva would contaminate the expressed milk, making it unfit for the baby. Saliva contamination could ruin the contents of each bottle within a matter of hours.)
The scenario described here isn’t unbelievable, because it’s happened at least once before. As KHOU-TV in Houston reported back in February 2002, Dallas attorney Colleen Carboy was also asked to drink her stored breast milk to demonstrate its safety before being allowed to board a flight in Austin, but security personnel were eventually overruled by a supervisor after
At the time both these incidents took place, federal guidelines permitted airport screeners to have passengers drink from containers. That policy was changed on
Last updated: 2 December 2007