USPS is a titan in the shipping industry and is well known for being one of the best shipping options when you’re shipping more unconventional items.
So can you ship food with USPS, and if so, how much does it cost, and how would you do it? If you’d like to find out more, keep reading this article to see what I learned!
Can You Ship Food With USPS?
USPS has different regulations in place depending on whether or not the food being shipped is perishable. If you’re sending items such as potato chips or other pre-packaged food, it can be shipped without any extra steps. If the food you’re shipping is perishable, however, shipping is much more expensive and requires special labeling and packaging.
If you’d like to learn more about whether USPS ships frozen food, which USPS services are in charge of fulfilling food shipments, and more, continue reading through this article for more useful facts!
Does USPS Ship Refrigerated or Frozen Food?
USPS does allow for perishable food items such as refrigerated and frozen food to be shipped, however, it is the shipper’s responsibility to ensure that the food does not spoil in transit.
Frozen and refrigerated perishable food items are typically more expensive to ship since they require faster delivery and the use of cooling tools such as dry ice, which is labeled as a hazardous material in the USPS handbook.
It is important to note that USPS does not use refrigerators or coolers when shipping food, so if you’re planning on shipping perishable items that need to be kept cold, you’ll need to factor in the weight of any additional cooling items included in the package.
What USPS Shipping Services Should You Use To Ship Food?
The USPS shipping services you should use when shipping food depends on whether you’re shipping perishable items, such as produce, meat, and similar foods.
If you’re shipping nonperishable items, such as potato chips, beef jerky, or other pre-packaged snacks, then you have your pick of nearly any USPS shipping service.
If you are shipping perishable food items, however, you are much more limited depending on what you’re shipping.
The biggest issue with shipping perishable food items is making sure they stay in a refrigerated or frozen state, meaning you’ll need to have some method of cooling the contents of your package.
Usually, food shipments are cooled with dry ice, as it can only be used in quantities of 5 lbs or less (hazardous substance) when using a shipping service that moves packages via plane, which is the best option for perishable items since it’s faster.
Keeping this in mind, the best way to ship perishable items is through Priority Mail Express, which guarantees next-day delivery for most urban areas and 2-day delivery for more rural areas.
You can also use Priority Mail and First Class shipping, though it’s important to keep in mind that these options are only available if you’re shipping packages with 5 lbs of dry ice or less since they’re transported onto planes.
Keep in mind that the faster you can get your perishable food items to their location, the less likely it is for them to spoil in transit, so it’s always best to go with the fastest shipping option available.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship Food With USPS?
Shipping costs with USPS are calculated by factoring in the size, dimensions, and overall distance traveled of any given package.
Because of this, it can be difficult to calculate the price of shipping food since the above information is so variable depending on the type of food items being shipped, as well as the quantity.
However, you can do some calculations before bringing the package to USPS in order to get a good idea of the price.
For example, a package of food that weighs 5 lbs that requires an additional 5 lbs of dry ice weighs approximately 10 lbs, and packaged in a box that is 12 in x12 in x 12 in, your best options are Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail.
For Priority Mail Express, if you’re shipping this package from Texas to Florida, it would cost about $102 and be delivered within 24 hours.
However, to ship this package with Priority Mail from Texas to Florida, you can expect to pay about $35 and have your package delivered within 2-3 days.
It’s important to keep in mind that your package may vary in weight, dimensions, and the distance it will be traveling, so the prices for your particular package may differ.
To get a more personalized estimate of how much it may cost you to ship your perishable items, you can visit this page of the USPS website- be sure to check the box for hazardous materials if you’re shipping with dry ice!
How Do You Ship Food With USPS?
Shipping perishable food items can be tricky with USPS, especially since perishable food itself is a restricted item and the dry ice used to cool it is a hazardous item.
In order to ship perishable food with USPS, there are several rules and regulations you must abide by.
First and foremost, you need a sturdy container that’s leak-proof and has insulating abilities to help keep your items cold and prevent leaks/odors in transit.
It’s recommended to use a thick polystyrene box, as the material is sturdy enough to prevent bursting and leaks while also locking in smells and any moisture.
Next, place your perishable items in the shipping container you have on hand.
Fill in the gaps between your perishables and the shipping contained with some lightweight packaging material like bubble wrap, and then place your dry ice on top of and around your perishable items.
When sealing your package, be sure to use high-quality packing tape and be careful to allow some gaps for condensation and the carbon dioxide gas from the dry ice to escape, or else your package may burst.
Once your package is sealed, you must label everything appropriately.
Since both perishable food and dry ice are restricted items, you’ll need to have a declaration of dangerous goods on the package, as well as a label declaring what food is being shipped and the net weight of the dry ice that’s being shipped with it.
You’ll also need a Class 9 DOT warning label for the dry ice to warn postal workers that your package needs to be handled with extra care.
To read more about dry ice and the different shipping regulations USPS has in place, you can visit this site to make sure you’re doing everything correctly.
You can also visit this page of the USPS website if you want to learn more about the intricacies and regulations around shipping perishable items with USPS.
To learn more about USPS shipping services, you can also see our posts on whether or not USPS delivers to your door, whether USPS delivers on Sundays, and USPS book shipping.