If you’re reading this, you may have an inkling that you can’t just throw perishable goods into a box and toss them in the mail. But what should you do? You need to package your perishable items correctly, and ship them quickly. Use temperature indicators to show that your perishables have remained in a safe temperature range. Use overnight shipping or the fastest alternative option, and label your packages so that handlers know they contain perishable goods.

Insulating your perishable goods appropriately is one of the most important things you can do to make sure they stay nice and fresh all the way to their destination. You should place your perishable food shipment into a styrofoam box with sides at least one-and-a-half inches thick, or line your shipping box with thick styrofoam panels. Double-wrap perishable items that may contain or release liquid in watertight mailer bags. (Don’t seal up live seafood, though, because it should still be alive when it arrives and sealing it up will suffocate it.) Place an absorbent pad in the bottom of the box to collect any liquid the perishable items might release. 

Refrigerants keep your perishable items cool during shipping, so they remain at a safe temperature. This is particularly important for food items that may spoil if allowed to get too warm. 

Use gel packs if the items you want to ship need to stay cold, but not frozen. Gel packs are a better choice than water ice because gel packs stay frozen, and therefore cold, longer than wet ice packs. Gel packs should maintain your goods at a temperature range of 32℉ to 60℉. Use gel packs for shipping things like fresh cut flowers, baked goods, chocolate, and live seafood. You can surround your goods with gel packs, as long as they won’t be crushed by the weight of them.

The faster your perishables arrive, the sooner they can be put into someone’s fridge or freezer and the lower the risk of them spoiling in transit. Always ship your perishables overnight if possible, and if it isn’t possible, choose the fastest alternative. Refrigerant packs only last a couple of days, and food can easily go bad if the shipment is delayed.

If your carrier offers cold shipping, they may require you to label your package as perishable anyway, but even if you’re not using cold shipping, putting a “perishable” sticker on the outside of your box will let the carrier know that the package should be delivered quickly and that it should be kept cold as much as possible – they might not be able to put it in a refrigerated truck, but they can at least keep it out of the sun. 

The key to keeping your perishables fresh during shipping is to package them with the right insulation and refrigerants, and then get them to the recipient as fast as possible. As long as you follow these guidelines, you should be able to successfully send perishables anywhere in the country.

The post Here’s How to Keep Your Perishable Goods Fresh During Shipping appeared first on The Startup Magazine.