Ship It Safe

Food safety is an issue if you buy food online or mail order, call for home-delivered groceries, or ship perishable food as a gift.

  • To place an order, ask how and when perishable foods will be sent. Ask that the food be packed with dry ice or cold packs, and order for overnight delivery. Record the order number for tracking—just in case!
  • If you 're packing a perishable food gift, freeze it solid or refrigerate until cold before packing it. Pack food in an insulated cooler or a heavy corrugated box with cold packs or dry ice. (Check the phone book for a place to buy dry ice; talk to your shipper or the post office about proper forms and warning labels for shipping packages with dry ice.) Mark the properly addressed package as "Perishable—Keep Refrigerated." Use overnight delivery. And let the recipient know it's coming so it won't sit on the doorstep.
  • If you receive a food gift, open it right away. Some mail-order foods, such as dry-cured ham and hard salami, don't require refrigeration. Other meats (including most hams), poultry, fish, and other perishable foods should arrive just as cold as they would be in your refrigerator. If it's cold enough, put the food in the freezer or the refrigerator. If it's not, toss it out, and contact the mail-order company for a replacement or a refund.
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