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USPS Food Shipping

usps food shipping

Do you want to send a care package to someone through the post? 

If you love to bake, you are sure to want to share your sweet treats with your friends and relatives. This can be a bit tricky if your loved ones live in other parts of the country. The United States Postal Service offers a fast and efficient way of sending mail throughout the United States. However, there are strict guidelines with USPS about what can be sent and how to send it.

So, let’s learn all about USPS food shipping and find out what you can and can’t send. 

About Shipping Food With USPS 

The United States Postal Service is known for offering fast and reliable services. This is usually one of the best options when you want to send unconventional items through the mail. However, there are certain restrictions and regulations about how the food needs to be packaged and shipped with USPS.

Non-perishable food

These food items come prepackaged and have a long shelf life. Because they will not deteriorate while they are shipped, they do not require special packaging and labeling.

Non-perishable items include:

  • Canned meats and fish
  • Potato chips
  • Canned and dry soups and stews
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee 
  • Canned pasta 
  • Hot and cold cereals
  • Canned vegetables and fruit
  • Rice
  • Cake and pancake mixes
  • Syrup
  • Powdered Milk
  • Dry packaged pasta 
  • Juice boxes and canned juices
  • Canned gravy
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baby food, formula, and cereal
  • Granola bars and cereal bars

Refrigerated and frozen food

If you want to send perishable items, you need to take extra steps to protect them during transport. The goal is to make sure the contents don’t spoil during the journey to the receiver. If the package starts to leak or smell, it is likely to be thrown away by the postal carrier.

Items that need to be kept frozen or refrigerated during transit require faster delivery and special handling. Because USPS does not use coolers during transport, dry ice needs to be included. This increases the weight of these items, which increases the cost of shipment. 

Available Shipping Services

The type of USPS shipping service you choose will depend on whether or not the items are perishable. Non-perishable items can be sent using nearly all the services the United States Postal Service offers. However, your options are more limited when it comes to perishable items like meat, fish, fresh fruit, and vegetables. 

Available Shipping Services

Perishable items

When sending perishable items through the mail, you need to make sure they remain in a…

  • Frozen or refrigerated state. This means that you will need to include some method of cooling the package contents. The most common method is dry ice, which can be used in a maximum quantity of five pounds. 
  • The best way to ship perishable items is by choosing Priority Mail Express. This service guarantees next-day delivery for most urban areas and 2-day delivery for rural areas.
  • The other options are Priority Mail and First Class shipping, which are slightly slower. These options are only available if you are sending packages containing less than five pounds of dry ice. This is because planes are used for these services, and dry ice is deemed to be a hazardous substance. 
  • The longer it takes to get the items to the receiver, the more risk there is of them perishing. Therefore, it is best to choose the fastest service available. 

The Cost 

The cost of sending food items is based on several different factors. This includes the size, weight, and dimensions of the package, as well as the distance it will travel. This can make calculating the exact cost in advance a bit tricky. However, it is possible to do some rough calculations in advance to get an idea of the cost before shipment. 

A package of perishable food weighing five pounds requires an extra five pounds of dry ice. This brings the total weight up to ten pounds. If the package measures 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches, it’s best to choose Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail.

A few rough estimates…

If you choose Priority Mail Express and ship the package from Texas to Florida, it would cost around $102. In this case, the package will reach its destination within 24 hours. The same package will cost $35 with Priority Mail. However, it will take between two and three days for the package to reach its destination.

Get a personalized estimate of the cost by using the price calculator on the USPS website. Check the hazardous materials box when filling out the parcel information. You can also choose when you want the parcel to be delivered and include any special instructions. 

How To Prepare Food For Shipping?

Before sending food through the post, you need to make sure it’s properly prepared. The last thing you want is for the items to go bad before they reach the recipient. Here are some ways to prepare perishable items so that they reach their destination in good condition.

How To Prepare Food For Shipping

Choose the right container

You need to choose a leak-proof and sturdy container that comes with insulating capabilities. This will help to make sure the items stay cool and do not produce odors during transit. The best option is a thick polystyrene box because this material locks in odors and moisture. The container should be slightly larger than the contents so that the contents don’t touch the sides. 

Interior reinforcement

Reinforce the container from the inside so that it can support the weight of the contents. Make sure all the joins inside the package are sealed with packing tape. Adding extra reinforcement along the sides and bottom of the package will help the content remain intact. 

Packing materials

Fill in the gaps between perishable items and the container with some lightweight packaging material like bubble wrap. Surround the contents with packing peanuts or another type of filler to keep them from touching each other. 


There are several ways to keep perishable items cool during shipment. While dry ice is the best option for frozen items, this substance needs to be handled with care. For items that need to be refrigerated, gel-coolant ice packs are ideal for relatively short distances. 

Choose your baked goods carefully

Most baked goods don’t need to be refrigerated if you choose them carefully. If the treats crumble, they won’t arrive at their destination in one piece. Avoid cookies and other baked goods that include chocolate or cream cheese, because they will need to be refrigerated. 

If you are sending soft cookies, place a slice of bread in the container to soak up excess moisture. Quick breads should be double-wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed inside a plastic bag or wrapped again in foil. If you are sending granola, make sure it is sealed inside a sturdy plastic bag. 

Organization is key

When sending individual baked goods like granola bars and cookies, arrange them neatly in a tin or plastic container. Place a sheet of wax paper between each item before packing them into a mailing box. Taking the time to organize and pack the contents correctly helps protect them from outside elements during transport.

Clearly label the container

It is best to clearly mark your package with FRAGILE so that it will be handled with extra care. You need to securely attach a clear return address on the outside of the box. Add another return address label inside the box in case the label becomes detached from the outside. 

You need to attach a declaration of dangerous goods to the package and a label outlining the exact contents. This includes the exact weight of dry ice inside the package if you have used it. If you have included dry ice, you need to attach a Class 9 DOT warning label. This warns postal workers that the package has to be handled with extra care. 

Outside reinforcement

When sealing the package, use high-quality packing tape along the top, the folds and the edges, and the bottom. Take care not to cover the labels with tape. Make sure you allow a few small gaps for condensation to escape during transport. This is particularly important if you include dry ice in the package.

Read more: How Long Does Shein Take to Ship?

Make Your Shipping More Efficient!

The more info you know, the easier your shipping process can be! So, let find out more about How Much Is A PO Box At USPSDoes USPS Print Labels, and What Is A USPS Parcel Locker, or How Long Does USPS Forward MailHow Long Does USPS Hold Packages, and Can I Drop A Package In A USPS Mailbox?

Once you’ve sent your parcel oof, you might be interested to know What Does Insufficient AddressMean At USPS, along with What Does Missent Mean USPS The Ultimate, and what is the Departed USPS Destination Facility Meaning, or perhaps you’d like to know what is the difference between USPS Priority Mail vs First Class and How Fast IS USPS First Class in 2023?

If you’re waiting on a package, then check out What Is USPS Informed Delivery, and When Do USPS Trucks Go Out For Delivery, followed by Does USPS Deliver On SaturdaysDoes USPS Deliver On Sunday, and Does USPS Deliver At Night?

Final Thoughts

You can send food through the post as long as you choose what you send carefully and package it properly. Before you get started, it’s best to read the United States Postal Service guidelines on how to ship food. 

If you choose to send perishable edibles, it’s best to use dry ice to keep them cold. This will help to make sure they stay fresh and in good condition during the journey. You also need to choose the fastest shipping service possible to eliminate the risk of the items going bad.

Good luck with your shipping, and I hope your treats arrive safely!

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