Safe and Savory: How to Ship Holiday Foods Successfully

November 24, 2023

Shipping food during the holidays can be a thoughtful way to share traditions and treats with loved ones, especially when you can’t be there in person. Here are comprehensive guidelines to ensure your food shipments arrive safely and deliciously.

Choosing the Right Foods

Opt for items that don’t require refrigeration and can withstand shipping conditions. Ideal options include baked goods, hard salami, and hard cheeses. These are firm, moist, and less likely to break during transit​​.1

Packaging and Preparation

Wrapping and Containers: Start by wrapping cooled baked goods securely in plastic wrap, zip lock bags, or sturdy containers like cookie tins.

Sturdy Shipping Box: Use a clean, strong corrugated box for placing the wrapped items.

Cushioning: Surround the individually wrapped items with ample cushioning materials like bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

Sealing: Seal the box securely with tape to ensure it stays intact during transit​​.2

Shipping Perishable Items

Cold Sources: Include frozen gel packs or dry ice for perishables. Remember to wear gloves when handling dry ice.

Airtight Containers: Use airtight containers for frozen or refrigerated food to prevent spillage.

Insulated Coolers: Place cold food in an insulated foam cooler to regulate temperature.

Cardboard Box and Packing Material: Put the cooler in a sturdy cardboard box, filling any extra space with packing materials.

Labelling: Clearly write the recipient’s address and label the box with instructions like “contains dry ice” or “keep refrigerated”​​​​.34

Timing and Shipping

Early Week Shipping: Ship perishable items early in the week to prevent them from sitting in warm warehouses over the weekend.

Recipient Availability: Confirm that the recipient will be available to refrigerate perishable items quickly upon arrival. Perishable food sitting out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour at temperatures above 90°F) can cause food poisoning​​.5

Temperature Monitoring: Inform the recipient to check that perishable food arrives frozen, partially frozen with ice crystals, or at least as cold as it would be in a refrigerator. If the food arrives above 40°F, it should be discarded​​.6

Storage Instructions: Make sure the recipient knows how to store the food correctly upon arrival. Perishable items should be refrigerated or frozen immediately​​.7

Fast Shipping Service: Use a shipping service that offers quick transportation, preferably overnight shipping, and consider opting for delivery confirmation​​.8

General Tips

Shipping Early: Ship holiday foods early in the week and well before the holidays due to high shipping demands during this period​​.9

Food Safety: Ensure that products are prepared and packed using safe food preparation practices​​​​.1011

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your holiday food gifts are not only a delightful surprise but also safe and enjoyable for your friends and family.

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