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Italian airport waives liquids limit for hand luggage - but only for pesto

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Italian airport waives liquids limit for hand luggage - but only for pesto
A jar of pesto. Photo: poppet with a camera/Flickr
14:22 CEST+02:00
Travellers to Italy often choose to take a taste of the country home with them by filling their suitcases with local food and drinks - only to be thwarted by airports' strict regulations on carrying liquids.

One airport, however, is making an exception to the 100ml-maximum rule for taking liquids onboard.

From the start of June, tourists flying out of Genoa airport in northern Italy have been allowed to take larger quantities of liquids in their cabin baggage.

The catch? The 100ml limit is only waived for those taking pesto, the region's famous sauce made of garlic, basil, pine nuts and cheese. "If it's not pesto, it can't fly in hand luggage," Genoa Airport press officer Nur El Gawohary told The Local.

Genoa's Cristoforo Colombo airport launched the 'Il pesto è buono' (Pesto is good) initiative at the start of June, allowing passengers to take jars of pesto up to 500g on board, in exchange for a donation to Flying Angels, a local charity which provides flights for seriously ill children who need to travel overseas to receive care.

The inspiration for the scheme came from airport staff. "Every year hundreds of pesto jars were seized at security controls and thrown away - a waste of food and an annoyance to our passengers," explained El Gawohary.

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"Ensuring safety is our primary goal," said El Gawohary. "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."

Tourists unwilling to part with their oversized pesto jars can ask for a sticker in exchange for a charity donation, and staff then scan the jars in a special x-ray machine which has an anti-explosive device fitted.

In the first 20 days of the project, more than 500 passengers have taken part. According to the airport, the initiative has been "particularly appreciated by locals from Liguria" who no longer have to go without their regional specialty when holidaying abroad, but several tourists have also taken advantage of the scheme to take home a garlicky souvenir.

The pesto must still comply with some limits: passengers can either take one 500g jar or two jars of up to 250g. They can only be taken on direct flights from Genoa, and the pesto in question must be Genovese.

READ ALSO: 21 photos that will make you say 'Only in Italy'

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