He was visiting Ireland to try and help small rural producers boost exports of their produce.
But British food and drink expert James Crowden found himself in a sticky situation at Dublin Airport - when security confiscated pots of homemade jam from his hand luggage.
And the irony was not lost on the award-winning author. ‘It was like a situation in a Flann O’Brien story,’ he told the Irish Daily Mail yesterday, referring to a series of satirical Irish novels.
‘I was over trying to help small rural producers and I couldn’t get out of the country with the stuff myself. It was ironic at the very least.’
Mr Crowden had been invited by Bord Bia to speak to apple growers and cider producers in Drogheda about the future of artisan cider-making.
He then visited Granard, Co. Longford, where he has ancestral roots, and purchased some jam.
‘I was in the Greville Arms and I bought three jars of jam: Apricot, plum and blackberry. They were going to be a present for my father, who himself is a very good jam-maker,’ Mr Crowden said.
The jams cost £2.10 each from a local producer based in the nearby Granard Country Market.
When he tried to leave the country the next day, his hand luggage was searched by security who seized the jam – which was in jars larger than regulations allow.
According to the Dublin Airport Authority website, ‘only liquids in containers of 100ml or less, fitting comfortably into a one litre transparent plastic bag (approximately 20cm x 20cm) when fully closed, are permitted’.
An indignant Mr Crowden said: ‘All I was told was that the container was wrong. I was surprised because the jam was very solid.
Security threat? Staff at Dublin Airport confiscated the Irish-made jam
Jars of jam sold by the maker from whom Mr Crowden bought his. Airport security said they weren't allowed to be taken on the plane
‘They were supposed to be in 100ml containers but I was not given the option to change it, they were just taken.’
Solicitor Pól Ó’Murchú is calling for the jam to be returned.
He wrote in a letter to The Irish Times: ‘The jam was perfectly solid and was not a liquid. We are calling on the authorities to give a full explanation for their actions and return the jam to its rightful owner.
‘These regulations obviously have a detrimental effect, not only on the growth of Irish rural industry and country markets, but on tourism as well. Two vital ingredients to Ireland’s recovery.’
A spokesperson for Dublin Airport defended the decision to confiscate jam from Mr Crowden's luggage, claiming they were following EU regulations.
Nicola Radford said: 'If an item is over 100ml and comes under the category of a "liquid, gel or paste" unfortunately that would fall under guidelines which would require us to ask the passenger to surrender it.
'We are not given the option to test an item, we are just asked to remove it from the passenger.
'We have no leeway in this and only follow standard EU regulations.
'Food stuffs like jam and mustard as well as make-up fall under the "gel or paste" category.
'We do feel for passengers but there is plenty of information on all airport's websites.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2079827/Food-writer-trying-help-Ireland-boost-exports-banned-taking-homemade-produce-home-plane.html#ixzz1hzdkwWnw