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Old 01/10/09, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 44
Question Ever Shipped Frozen Meat?

Hi, folks.
I was just wondering if any of you have any experience shipping your frozen meats, and what method/carrier you used?

I will be getting some pigs done at the butcher in a few weeks, and some friends on the east coast (I'm in the midwest) want to buy a side from me. It's federally inspected, so got that end covered.

I spoke to the butcher, and they said they only feel comfortable shipping next day air, which she said is around $75 for a 15 lb. pkg. or so. So that seems like it's gonna be ridiculous for a whole side.

Since it's January, I was wondering if I could do something like pack their meat up in a styrofoam cooler (inside a cardboad box, I've seen vaccines, etc., shipped that way) and put some dry ice in there. Then use a ground carrier like UPS and use 2-3 days service? That seems like it should be no problem with the meat spoiling or even beginning to thaw, but might be much more reasonable.

Any thoughts or ideas??
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Old 01/10/09, 12:09 PM
Jennifer L.'s Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: New York bordering Ontario
Posts: 4,886
Well, I'd probably risk doing it that way, if I were going to eat it myself. The only problem would happen if there were a hold up somewhere along the line. If you try this I would try and time the shipment for the beginning of the week with good weather forecast so there wouldn't be a storm problem anywhere.

-Northern NYS
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Old 01/10/09, 12:38 PM
IowaLez's Avatar
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We had a whole hog shipped from Iowa to CA via UPS 3-Day, it was in a styrofoam container, then inside a box, and had dry ice in it. It was in January and it arrived just fine, the trucks were cold, I guess. And we had some wine shipped from CA to Iowa last week via UPS Ground, and it arrived almost frozen, so meat shipping should be just fine in the winter.
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Old 01/10/09, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 34
We used to live in Alaska, and often shipped frozen salmon to family in North Carolina. We used a styrofoam-lined box, and packed it absolutely full of frozen fish. To make sure there were few spaces, we used to put the box in the freezer, and then pack the unfrozen fish in the box and let it freeze that way. (Obviously, the fish were all packed in bags, and the whole box was lined with another plastic bag, so that nothing would leak if the fish did start to thaw.)

No dry ice. Nothing but frozen fish.

We shipped it the fastest way possible, and made sure that somebody was going to be at home to receive the package.

Never had a problem. Fish stayed frozen.

We never did this in mid summer. :-)

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Old 01/14/09, 10:43 AM
fantasymaker's Avatar
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Location: IL, right smack dab in the middle
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Originally Posted by davisdj View Post

We never did this in mid summer. :-)

Then how did you keep the fish fresh till you shipped it?
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Old 01/14/09, 02:52 PM
chewie's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: central south dakota
Posts: 4,096
we have shipped deer to georgia--packed the styro cooler, then into a box. put some dry ice in it too, 3 days later it arrived in great shape. it was a large cooler filled, and cost around $50 to ship.
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Old 01/14/09, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
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Would the butcher remove the bones to save shipping costs?

Basically just freeze hard, pack tight and insulate. Some newspaper in the bottom will soak up any moisture and add a tiny bit of insulation. If you use one of those squarish styrofoam coolers I would wrap it with fiberglass strapping tape in case the cooler cracks. I used to ship live fish and never had a problem with a broken cooler but it could happen.

I've gotten frozen bloodworms shipped 2 day from Utah in mid-summer with no problem. They did put some dry ice in the box but their insulation was only 1/2" beadboard.
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Last edited by fishhead; 01/14/09 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 01/14/09, 06:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,487
Dry ice is considered a hazardous material by the post office. UPS will only accept a certain amount. Fed Ex second day is the only way to ship it insured.

Call the carriers and ask them what is acceptable, then compare prices. It is expensive.

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Old 01/14/09, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 210
Worked with a young man whose mother shipped down some meat for him from North Dakota to Chicago. Shipped frozen and priority mail, but to our office and it did not make the delivery on Friday and the next business delivery day was Monday. Well, it all melted. When it arrive I had to unpack it and bag it on the way to the dumpster. It sat all weekend inside at the post office. Man did it smell... The only thing that survived were the kitchen towels she made. The young man got called away for the week.

So if you use the Priority Mail make sure you ship on Monday so it will be delivered before the weekend.
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Old 01/14/09, 06:37 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: PA
Posts: 845
I ship frozen meat every week. We have a raw pet food business and everything ships frozen. This time of year you can ship ground or home delivery via Fed Ex. Fed Ex has better transit times then UPS.
You can see transit times at
Use an insulated box, dry ice and use freeze packs also. After the dry ice dissipates the freeze packs will help keep everything frozen. Fill any dead spaces with paper or bubble wrap.
Even in the heat of summer I ship 3 day transits all the time with minimal thawing.
Also ship on a Monday to give you a buffer if the box does gets delayed. You dont want it sitting in a warehouse on a weekend. Dry ice up to 5 lb shipped Fed Ex ground is not considered hazardous material and you do not need special labeling.
If you are shipping air you have to label with dry ice stickers and have it on your shipping labels but again this time of year save the money and ship ground instead.
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Old 01/15/09, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 34
Originally Posted by fantasymaker View Post
Then how did you keep the fish fresh till you shipped it?
I meant that we never shipped it in midsummer. We caught the fish, vacuum packed it, froze it in the shipping box (shipping box in the freezer), and then shipped it after freeze up.

Sorry if I wasn't clear about that.
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Old 01/15/09, 08:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: ozark foothills, Mo
Posts: 1,051
elk meat

Couple years back daughter shipped me a cooler full of frozen elk meat from wyoming to my house here in the mo. Ozarks.Shipped it packaged in a sealed styrofoam container in Dec. it was still frozen solid when it arrived ups. Sent frozen blackberrys to Co. with a little dry ice in container, made the trip just fine..
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Old 01/15/09, 09:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: South Central WI
Posts: 853
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Old 01/16/09, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 44
Thanks for the feedback!
The strange thing is, I have been told by the UPS store lady that they no longer accept dry ice at all for ground carriers! she suggested putting regular frozen gel packs in the box. ?? I dunno - Are they actually colder or do they stay colder longer than frozen solid meat?? Or will they just add more unnecessary weight and take up space? I can see using them if I need to fill up space, but I'm pretty sure that won't be a problem. I'm half tempted to just put some dry ice in there anyway and ship it, but I suppose that they stopped carrying it for some reason. Maybe.
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