You eagerly rip open the shiny, gift-wrapped box you received in the mail. As you peer into the present, you gasp! The sticker says, "Keep Refrigerated" -- but the delicacy inside feels like it’s at room temperature! Oh, no!
How can you be sure that food survives holiday shipping? It’s all in the planning. Follow these handy tips to make sure what you send and receive is handled properly.
Mailing a Perishable Food Gift...
- Make sure the food is frozen solid or refrigerator cold.
- Use an insulated cooler or a heavy corrugated box packed with a frozen gel pack, or purchase dry ice for keeping food cold.
- Alert the recipient and agree on a delivery date.
- Properly label the package "Perishable -- Keep Refrigerated" on the outside, and provide a complete mailing address and phone number to ensure proper delivery.
- Ship your package by overnight delivery. Note: Don't send food to someone's workplace. The food could accidentally be left at the office or in the trunk of a car. It’s safer to send food directly to the home, but make sure that someone will be home to receive the "surprise."
Receiving a Perishable Food Gift...
- Open the package upon arrival.
- Make sure the food is still refrigerator cold.
- Immediately refrigerate or freeze the food.
Note: Perishable food must arrive cold to be safe. If it is not cold, do not eat it, and notify the shipper. Remember, it’s the shipper’s responsibility to deliver perishable foods on time, but it’s the customer’s responsibility to have someone at home to receive the package.
Tips for Mail-order Food Gifts
When ordering food gifts through the mail, transit time and a cold source are key! Be sure to specify overnight delivery, and request that the company supply a frozen gel pack or dry ice in the packaging. This will help guarantee that the food will arrive still firm and refrigerator cold.
Check out this chart for storage and handling times for mail-order foods.Remember to practice food safety this season!