Baby food tests positive for explosives, seized by TSA agents



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Posted on May 12, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Updated Friday, May 13 at 9:00 AM

GRAPEVINE - Parents flying with babies face a lot of challenges.

Earlier this week, there was an uproar over a baby being frisked by security agents at the Kansas City International Airport.

Thursday morning, a Dallas family ran into a different problem when the parents of 7-month-old Bruce Ankenbrand took him through security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on their way to Chicago. TSA agents seized his baby food.

"I said, 'That's the only food we have for him,'" said Kimarie Ankenbrand, Bruce's mother. "We're getting on a flight, a three-hour flight."

Bruce's frantic mom told News 8 that agents swabbed her small packages of baby food for traces of explosives. The packages tested positive. The baby food itself, which is organic and contains no chemicals, was not tested.

Bruce's mother pleaded with a TSA supervisor for more tests or to squeeze the food into another container. She said the supervisor refused.

"Oh my God," said the exasperated mom. "You're telling me we're going to starve a 7-month-old child? We're getting on a plane."

A TSA spokesman told News 8 that the explosives detection device might have given a false positive. There are many legal substances that can cause alarms on explosives detection machines, some examples are traces of fertilizers and heart medicines. Recently firing a gun can also result in a false positive.

"Repeated testing of the items failed to clear the alarm," read a statement released by the TSA. "In an abundance of caution, the items were not allowed to proceed beyond the checkpoint and will be properly disposed of."

Several concessionaires at D/FW Airport carry baby formula and the airport's Travelers Aid stocks some baby food.  

The TSA said the family was allowed to fly after taking all the circumstances into consideration. Bruce's relieved mom said her baby made it to Chicago with no trouble.

However, she said she thinks there must have been a better solution.