Food by Mail

Whether you’re a giver or a receiver, food sent by mail is more popular than ever.
But food safety still matters, especially with perishable foods.

With a little groundwork, you’ll be assured that the contents of the package on the doorstep are safe to eat.

Before ordering, confirm that the company sends perishable items (like meat or poultry) cold or frozen and packed with a cold source. It should be
packed in foam or heavy corrugated cardboard and should be delivered as
quickly as possible — ideally, overnight.Also, take these precautions to ensure
safe shipping:
Proper Labeling: Confirm that perishable items and the outer package will be labeled “keep refrigerated.”
• Alert the Recipient: Let him/her know if the company has promised a delivery date. Or, alert the recipient that “the gift is in the mail” so someone can be there to receive it. Don’t have perishable items delivered to an office unless you know it will arrive on a work day and that there is refrigerator space available for keeping it cold.
All Perishables Need Refrigeration:
Even if a product is smoked, cured,and/or fully cooked, it still is a perishable product and must be kept cold.
When You’re the Recipient: When you receive a food item marked “keep refrigerated,” open it immediately and check its temperature. The food should arrive frozen or partially frozen with ice crystals still visible.
Temperature Caution: Whoever the recipient is, if perishable food arrives warm, notify the company. Do not consume the food. If you suspect it may not have been properly chilled, don’t even taste safety for food-by-mail
Mailing Homemade Foods
For sending food safely, check out the packing and shipping tips in the fact sheet
“Mail Order Food Safety” at