Four years ago, Stacey Armato was detained at a Phoenix airport and subjected to an intrusive body inspection after she refused to allow TSA agents to screen her breast milk. Armato had requested a secondary screening of the milk, due to concerns about exposing breast milk to radiation. According to a 2013 complaint from Armato, agents denied her request and then detained her in a glass enclosure for 40 minutes, and they also refused to let her show them a printout she had regarding the TSA rules regarding breast milk. Now TSA officials have tentatively offered her 75,000 dollars, along with promises to retrain agents and clarify its guidelines on screening breast milk. The current TSA regulations classify breast milk as liquid medication, and parents are allowed to bring an amount larger than the usual three ounces normally permitted for liquids.
Luckily, Armato was traveling alone that day and not with a crying infant, but she still says the entire situation was horrible. From CBS News:
“He (TSA officer) looked at me and said, ‘Not today,'” Armato recalled about her experience. “And I had a choice: dump my milk or put it through the X-ray.”
Armato says she will use the settlement towards her legal fees, and donate the rest to a nonprofit that supports breastfeeding moms.
People traveling with breast milk can request that it be screened by hand ( which is called the “alternate” screening for medication) which may consist of a visual inspection or a wipe of the container’s exterior that supposedly detects explosives. Here’s hoping that Stacey’s fight means more moms won’t be detained for not wanting their child’s food exposed to radiation.