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Shipping Food With Dry Ice

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Have you ever wanted to ship a casserole to a family member living clear across the country to give them a taste of “back home”?

You can!

Shipping food with dry ice in the packaging process makes this completely possible.

The First Step: The Dry Ice

The first step in shipping food with dry ice is to purchase dry ice that’s in a pack form. Most butcher shops and shipping companies sell them, we also sell Kodiak Brand reusable gel packs that were developed specifically for this situation.

The Second Step: Quality Packaging

Don’t go for cheap cardboard or steel! Remember that dry ice releases carbon dioxide, making it hazardous if the package ruptures. And since shipping involves a lot of manhandling of a package, opt for quality material such as fiberboard or corrugated cardboard. You can find this at your local hardware store. Another packaging option would be plastic or even a wooden box.

The Third Step: Styrofoam

Line your box with Styrofoam. Better yet, ship your perishable item in a Styrofoam cooler, which you would need to place within another container. The important thing to remember when using Styrofoam in whatever method you choose, the Styrofoam material must be at least two inches thick.

The Fourth Step: Pack it up

Wrap the food up in plastic wrap before placing it into the box, then set it aside. You’ll want to have the dry ice at the bottom of the package. But the food and the dry ice must be bound tightly together. You’ll want to use newspaper or some kind of paper wrapping to bind the gel packs and the food together.

Remember: Dry ice can cause frostbite and burn injuries, so you must use protection! Never handle dry ice with your bare hands. Opt for a towel cloth or cotton gloves.

Now place the food item into the box, with the gel packs oriented at the bottom. If you are using Styrofoam as a container, don’t seal it completely.

The Fifth Step: Mailing it

Remember that dry ice is a hazardous material, and will need to be marked properly prior to shipment. Inform the post office that your package contains dry ice, you’ll have to know how much you used in your packaging so make a note of this! The post office will then affix a label that reads UN 1845 along with the net worth of dry ice in your container. They will also give you a Class 9 label, which you’ll need to affix on the same side of the box as the UN 1845 label.

You’ll have to fill out paperwork with basic information such as your name and address along with the recipient’s before it can be mailed. You may also be required to fill out a shipper’s declaration.

An Important Note on Shipping

When possible, opt for overnight shipping. This is especially important if you are shipping perishables like meat. If the meat has been vacuum sealed properly, then two-day shipping can be safe. Otherwise, overnight is your best bet for shipping food with dry ice.

Video on Shipping Food

Take a look at our video to learn about the best way to prepare a package to ship food using dry ice!

Video Transcript

…In this portion, I want to go over how to transport food with dry ice.

You know, we want to make it so that you don’t damage your food. There’s a few key rules you have to remember.

So first thing, if you want to freeze, the dry ice goes on top. If you want to keep it cool, the dry ice goes on bottom. Now that’s a loaded statement right there, and you’re going to read that everywhere.

Number one, if you have vegetables and fruits, they have a weak cell structure. So, dry ice is so cold that it’s going to destroy that cell structure.

So what we’re going to do, we’re going to take our barrier, and we’re going to put holes inside of the barrier.

This is actually going to act as a thermostat. With this thermostat, we can allow a certain temperature to be reached. It’s going to take some trial and error.

That’s a hole, and we’re going to do that all over. Once we finish, we’re going to put this piece right back in. In doing so, if we do it correctly, all of our food is going to be kept nice and chilled, it’s not going to be destroyed, and if you want it to be, it’s going to be frozen. 

So, it takes a little trial and error, but once you figure it out it’s fantastic. 

So, we have a Gatorade. I want to freeze it.

What I’m going to do – and it’s a liquid right now – I’m going to put it in here and put our barrier that we built on top of it. Then we’re going to put the dry ice on top of that.

Within five minutes, that’s going to be frozen solid