How to Ship Game Meat

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Let your friends across the country enjoy your venison. Ship it using dry ice.
Let your friends across the country enjoy your venison. Ship it using dry ice. (Image: Venison roast with roasted potatos image by Elzbieta Sekowska from Fotolia.com)

It is legal to ship bison, venison, rabbit and other game meats through air mail, providing that you only ship the meat domestically. Shipping perishable goods that require refrigeration internationally is usually not allowed, although some exceptions exist. Keep the game meat fresh by flash freezing it in dry ice. This solid form of carbon dioxide will preserve the food by removing all oxygen from the container and keep your game meat cold while it is being shipped. Many shipping companies have size and weight regulations when shipping foods with dry ice, so be sure to check with your chosen mail carrier about any restrictions it may have.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam container or cooler with walls 2 inches thick or more
  • Newspaper
  • Gloves
  • 5 lbs. dry ice
  • Gel packs (optional)
  • Packing tape
  • Cardboard box, larger than your polystyrene foam container

Wrap your game meat tightly in freezer wrap. Wrap it again with newspaper and place the meat inside your plastic container or cooler.

Put on gloves.

Place half of the dry ice in the polystyrene foam container or cooler. Set your meat above the dry ice and fill the cooler with the remainder of the dry ice and gel packs if you so choose. Gel packs are not as cold as dry ice, but they do maintain their cold temperature longer, so adding them will help ensure that your game meat does not spoil if it takes an extra day to deliver.

Seal the corners of the cooler with packing tape. Do not seal the lid completely. You want the carbon dioxide to be able to escape the cooler as the dry ice sublimates, turns to gas.

Monitor your cooler for 10 minutes. If the lid starts to bulge, it means the dry ice is not escaping properly and you have sealed the lid too tightly. Open the cooler lid carefully, then reseal, using less packing tape.

Place the cooler inside the larger cardboard box. Fill any extra room with newspaper, so the cooler is secured.

Seal the cardboard box, again leaving room for the gas to escape. Affix a label and take your package to a mail carrier of your choosing.

Inform the employee that you are shipping dry ice. Under International Air Transport Association guidelines, dry ice is considering a hazardous material, and it must be declared and marked as such prior to shipping.

Ship the meat either by overnight mail or by two-day mail.

Tips & Warnings

  • According to the Dry Ice Info website, 10 lbs. of dry ice will freeze up to 5 lbs of meat when shipped overnight. Check with your mail carrier regarding the amount of dry ice you can ship.
  • Ship your game meat only on Monday or Tuesday. This will ensure that it does not get stuck in a warehouse over the weekend, where it could potentially defrost and spoil.
  • For best taste, do not freeze meat before flash freezing it with the dry ice.
  • Always wear gloves when handling dry ice. Dry ice is roughly -109 degree Fahrenheit and will burn your skin instantly.

References

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