Published On: Thu, Jul 4th, 2024
Travel | 4,763 views

One fruit forbidden on planes as it could ‘spontaneously combust’


Travellers are being warned about a certain fruit that is strictly prohibited on planes. It is forbidden to pack the fruit in your luggage due to its potential to ‘spontaneously combust’.

According to the International Air Transport Association’s Dangerous Goods Register (IATA) latest list of banned items for flights, one particular food is included. It may come as a surprise, but coconuts can pose a health and safety hazard.

While passengers are permitted to pack whole coconuts in both their hand luggage and hold luggage, it’s the dried coconut meat inside, which is called copra, that causes issues.

Coconut meat contains a lot of oil, making it highly flammable and a potential fire risk. It’s not allowed in either carry-on or checked baggage.

As such, most airlines have banned it due to the fire risk it presents. The only exception to this rule applies to retail-packaged coconut products.

The IATA categorises dried coconut as a Class 4 Dangerous Good, marking it as a flammable solid. Copra is classified as prone to spontaneous heating under normal conditions encountered during air transport.

So flammable is dried coconut that it shares company with items like matches, firelighters, metal powders and sodium batteries on IATA’s Dangerous Goods list.

A statement on IATA’s website reads: “IATA works closely with local governments and ICAO in the development of regulations. This way, we ensure that the rules and guidelines on dangerous goods transport are effective and operational practical.

“The IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) manual is the global reference for shipping dangerous goods by air and the only standard recognized by airlines.”

The Civil Aviation Authority has listed highly flammable coconut meat among the items and substances prohibited from being carried in hand luggage. Other items include:

  • Liquid oxygen
  • Stunning devices
  • Ammunition
  • Guns, firearms and all other devices that discharge projectiles, including replicas
  • Camping stoves
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Explosives including fireworks
  • Blunt instruments including baseball bats and fishing rods
  • Chemical or toxic substances
  • Tools including drills and crowbars
  • Sharp objects including knives and razor blades – though disposable razors are allowed
  • Hoverboards
  • “Smart Luggage” (a bag or suitcase with a battery)
  • Party poppers
  • Print and toner cartridges that weigh more than 500g

Luckily, so far, there haven’t been any reports of coconuts exploding on planes.

You can bring the following into Great Britain from any country without any restrictions:

  • bread, but not sandwiches filled with meat or dairy products
  • cakes without fresh cream
  • biscuits
  • chocolate and confectionery, but not those made with a lot of unprocessed dairy ingredients
  • pasta and noodles, but not if mixed or filled with meat or meat products
  • packaged soup, stocks and flavourings
  • processed and packaged plant products, such as packaged salads and frozen plant material
  • food supplements containing small amounts of an animal product, such as fish oil capsules

In the UK, there are specific restrictions on what you can bring into the country. For those arriving from the EU, Switzerland or Lichtenstein, they can bring in fruit (excluding non-retail coconut flesh), vegetables, nuts and seeds for personal use.

However, individuals arriving from other countries must adhere to different rules and obtain a ‘phytosanitary’ (plant health) certificate for fruit and vegetables.



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