The Best Way to Ship Perishable Food

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Pack perishable foods carefully for shipping.
Pack perishable foods carefully for shipping. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

When you ship food or other perishable items they must be packed so that they remain frozen or partially frozen until reaching the destination. Use frozen gel packs or dry ice, opt for overnight shipping and follow a few other crucial steps to keep the food cold and to prevent food poisoning.

Things You'll Need

  • Foam or cardboard box
  • Dry ice or frozen gel packs
  • Packing peanuts or crushed paper
  • Brown shipping paper
  • 2.75 mil polyethylene film, optional

Purchase a double-strength corrugated cardboard box or foam ice chest.

Pack items in a double-strength cardboard box.
Pack items in a double-strength cardboard box. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Line the bottom of the box with dry ice or frozen gel packs. Dry ice should be wrapped.

Wear gloves when handling dry ice.
Wear gloves when handling dry ice. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Place wrapped food into the box on top of the cold source. Add more dry ice or frozen gel packs on top of the perishables.

Add packing peanuts or crumbled paper to fill in any air spaces around the food. This will keep the food cold longer.

Eliminate air space with packing peanuts.
Eliminate air space with packing peanuts. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Seal the box with packing tape. Wrap the entire box in 2.75 mil polyethylene film or plastic wrap for extra protection, if desired.

Use the proper packing tape.
Use the proper packing tape. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Label the package with the correct name and address. Use permanent marker. Write "Keep Refrigerated" and "Perishable" on the box. If using dry ice indicate this on the box so that the recipient knows what to expect when the box is opened. Place the shipping label on the outside of the film if the box is packed in 2.75 mil polyethylene film or plastic wrap .

Use permanent marker to avoid smearing the address.
Use permanent marker to avoid smearing the address. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Mail the package at the beginning of the week so that it does not sit in the post office over the weekend. Most of the times you'll want to pay the extra expense of overnight shipping.

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