How to Pack Seafood for a UPS Shipment


UPS ships perishable food items, including frozen seafood and live fish, but you must provide the proper packaging and correct labels so the seafood reaches its destination in a condition that's safe to consume. Correct labelling will ensure that frozen food stays frozen, and using the correct materials will ensure that the leaks do not destroy the package. The fastest shipping options are the most expensive, but you must choose them or risk contamination.

  • Call your local UPS office and ask about the fastest available shipping method. Inquire about any cool storage locations on the shipping route, and arrange a pick-up time and location that minimizes your packed seafood's exposure to warm air.

  • Choose a sturdy corrugated box with a wax or plastic coating on the inside to protect against leaks. If the coating seems insufficient, cover the box's inner surface with a thin polyethylene liner.

  • Fit the box with a firm support frame made of an insulating substance like styrofoam.

  • Chill your seafood before placing it inside the box. Cool fresh seafood to a temperature around the freezing point, and cool frozen seafood to as low a temperature as possible.

  • Place your chosen coolant in the box. Gel ice lasts a long time and won't leak. If you choose to ship with dry ice, ensure that your box is properly vented.

  • Place your chilled or frozen seafood in the box so that the coolant surrounds it. Seal the box and label it according to UPS guidelines. Write the words "keep frozen" on the box in clear, bold script.

  • Bring the sealed and labeled box for shipment as soon as possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use normal frozen-water ice when packing seafood for shipment. The ice will melt and the box will leak and possibly collapse.

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