Raw Chicken Found Circling Luggage Carousel at Airport Baggage Claim

Can chickens fly?

The Transport Security Administration (TSA) posed the question to its social media followers after some agents spotted raw chicken parts circling the luggage carousel at an airport baggage claim. Though raw meat is not typically seen at the airport, per the TSA, raw meat and seafood are allowed on planes.

The TSA posted a video of the odd incident to Instagram earlier this week. The video has already received nearly 400,000 views and more than 1,100 comments. The administration didn't identify the airport where the chicken was found but tagged Seattle as the location.

In the post's caption, the TSA outlined some of its meat-packing procedures and took the opportunity to tell some poultry-inspired puns.

"Can chickens fly? Well... assuredly no poultry is flying like this," the administration said in the caption.

"Don't wing your travel packing," the post continued. "In order to keep from ruffling any feathers, meat should be properly packaged. Ice or dry ice is permitted to keep the flock chilled."

As the TSA stated in the post, passengers are permitted to bring raw/frozen meat onto a flight. Of course, there are special instructions one must follow.

According to its website, fresh meat and seafood are allowed to either be packed in a checked bag or transported in a carry-on. But, if the meat is packed with ice or ice packs, the ice must be "completely frozen" during screening. If the ice is partially melted, the food will not be permitted past security.

To avoid melted ice, the TSA recommends storing frozen perishables in dry ice.

It's not clear how the raw chicken wound up on the luggage carousel. The TSA said that the chicken had been stored in a cooler; however, at one point between baggage and the carousel, the poultry became "free-range." The post gave no further details into how the chicken managed to fly the coop.

A TSA spokesperson told Newsweek that the chicken likely fell out of the cooler.

"Our understanding is that it fell out of a cooler behind the block of chicken (and you can see the chicken is still in cooler shape). Our guess is that the owner did not think about the lid coming open and did not tape it securely enough."

Though the video is amusing, it is important for passengers to remember that raw chicken does contain bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. To avoid getting sick, the USDA says to clean and sanitize the surfaces that might have come into contact with raw chicken.

When cleaning a surface, the USDA says to use warm water, soap and single-use towels. To sanitize, an individual can use a combination of liquid chlorine bleach and water or a commercial sanitizing wipe.

Any passenger whose luggage might have come into contact with the meat might want to clean it before reusing.

Currently, the TSA is allowing all travelers to bring sanitizing wipes through security checkpoints. Of course, many are using these wipes to sanitize their seats, but the wipes would be useful in the event raw meat finds its way onto another luggage carousel.

Update 08/27/2021: The article has been updated to include a comment from the TSA.

baggage claim
Stock image of airport baggage claim. A viral video from the TSA showed a raw chicken prepping for flight. BrianAJackson/iStock