Safely send your holiday foods to family and friends

Think food safety when sending food via mail.

Sending perishable gifts to family and friends this year? How can you be sure that food survives the holiday shipping process? After you prepare wonderful tasting food to send to family and friends, take a few extra minutes before sending to ensure your gift will arrive safely to its destination and be safe to eat as well. Michigan State University Extension provides the following information to help you send those holiday treats and goodies safely.

If you are mailing a food item as a gift and it is perishable, follow the tips below:

  • The food should start out as a frozen solid or have been held in refrigeration below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use an insulated cooler or a heavy corrugated box packed with a frozen gel pack, or purchase dry ice for keeping food cold.
  • Let your family member or friend who is receiving the gift know that it has been shipped and when to expect the package.
  • Properly label the package "Perishable – Keep Refrigerated" on the outside, and provide a complete mailing address and phone number.
  • Ship your package by overnight delivery. If you are sending it somewhere other than a home address, make sure the recipient is able to keep it cold once it arrives.

If you are receiving a gift of a perishable food item, follow the tips below:

  • Open the package as soon as it arrives.
  • Make sure the food is still refrigerator cold (40 degrees Fahrenheit or below).
  • Immediately refrigerate or freeze the food.

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.

If you are ordering food through the mail, a fast shipping time and using a cold source is critical! When ordering, 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 the food will arrive safe and refrigerator cold.

The holidays are a great time to share homemade food items with family and friends. In order for the gift recipient to safely enjoy the homemade goodies, follow the tips above.

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