How To Ship Frozen Food

Food can spoil easily, so knowing how to ship frozen food is important so that the goods you ship arrive safely and still frozen. Most shippers ship food overnight on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday so the food is not sitting in transit over a weekend or holiday. Additionally, the cold months of the year are best for shipping frozen food. Be cautious when you are using dry ice because it can burn you.

To ship frozen food, you will need:

  • Insulated shipping container
  • Frozen food
  • Plastic wrap or plastic bags
  • Styrofoam peanuts, bubble packs or newspaper
  • Dry ice
  • Gloves
  • Shipping tape
  • Labels for some carriers
  1. You will need an insulated container that is at least two-inches thick to ship frozen food. Take the container with you to pick up the dry ice. The container should have ventilation so the carbon dioxide gas from the dry ice does not expand and cause the package to explode.
  2. Purchase dry ice at grocery stores, superstores and butcher shops. The store selling the dry ice can help you determine how much dry ice you will need to purchase. The general rule of thumb is that you will need five to ten pounds of dry ice for every 24 hours the food is in transit. You need to purchase the dry ice as close to the shipping time as possible.
  3. Wrap the food in plastic wrap, plastic bags or garbage bags so the dry ice does not touch the food. Place the frozen food in the container and fill any holes around the plastic-wrapped food with Styrofoam peanuts, bubble packs or newspaper.  he food should be packed as tightly as possible so the dry ice will last as long possible.
  4. Place the dry ice on top. Be sure and use cotton gloves, towels or potholders when you are handling dry ice.
  5. Seal the container with the shipping tape and ship the container as quickly as possible. You can ship frozen food with dry ice by mail, UPS or FedExYou may need to affix a Class 9 DOT miscellaneous hazardous material warning label and clearly mark "Carbon Dioxide Solid, UN1845" for some shippers.  Check with the shipper that you intend to use because the labeling may vary from shipper to shipper. For air transport, the amount of dry ice per parcel is limited to five pounds or less, but it's generally unlimited for ground shipments.


  • Do not let the dry ice touch your skin. Use cotton gloves, towels or potholders to move dry ice because it will burn you.
  • Use the dry ice in a well-ventilated location.
  • Do not leave children unattended around dry ice.
  • Transport the dry ice in your vehicle's trunk or the back of your truck because of the carbon dioxide fumes.  
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