True story: Back before our current level of heightened airport security, I once flew to Los Angeles with a case of beer as my lone piece of hand luggage. Obviously, those days are long gone as anyone who’s ever wanted to fly home with a local hot sauce or special wine can attest to. But an airport in Italy understands the anguish of travelers looking to bring back a liquid souvenir without going through the hassle of checking a bag: Genoa Airport has issued an exception to the 100 milliliter liquid rule specifically for – and only for – pesto.
Starting at the beginning of this month, the international airport in Northern Italy has started allowing passengers to board with larger amounts of the region’s famous sauce in their carry-on luggage. “If it's not pesto, it can't fly in hand luggage,” Genoa Airport press officer Nur El Gawohary emphasized to The Local. Granted, the relaxed rule – also known as the “Il pesto e buono” (aka “Pesto is good”) initiative – has some restrictions of its own. Pesto jars still can’t exceed 500 grams, and pesto-loving passengers also have to make a donation to Flying Angels, a charity that provides flights to ill children traveling abroad for medical care. Also, the pesto must be Genovese: No exception will be made from some third-rate non-local pesto you bought at the supermarket.
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“Every year hundreds of pesto jars were seized at security controls and thrown away - a waste of food and an annoyance to our passengers,” El Gawohary was quoted as saying. He also stresses that strict safety standards are still in place: The pesto gets checked just like other liquids that are given exemptions. “We use the same equipment [to check the pesto] that is used to check medicines, special foods or breast milk, which can already be brought in the cabin in quantities over 100ml,” he said.