Mail Order Food Safety TipsImage found at Goodwood’s is a British Market that has been in the business of providing imported British groceries to Expats living in the US for the past 20 years.

The Holidays often means food is being shipped as presents. Here is some information about Mail Order Food Safety we learned from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, part ofthe United States Department of Agriculture.

Many folks like the convenience of having foods delivered year round, and you should be aware of a few things to look for. Especially if you are receiving perishable foods.

    Perishable items, like frozen foods, meats and poutry, should arrive in foam or a thick cardboard box with a source to keep the items cold.
    Overnight is the best shipping method, but packages should be labeled, “Keep Refrigerated.”
    Check the temperature of items when they arrive. Food should arrive cold, or below 40 degrees F as measured by a food thermometer.
    Smoked, vacuum-packed, fully cooked and smoked foods are perishable and should all arrive “cold.”
    If the food arrives above 40 degrees F, contact the company. DO NOT eat it. Do not even taste it!
    Do not order foods unless they can be delivered on a date and time someone is there to receive and refrigerate the package.

These same guidelines apply to your homemade, edible gifts.

    Ship in a thick and sturdy box.
    Use gel packs or dry ice.
    Don’t let dry ice touch food or your skin.
    If used, write “DRY ICE” on the outside of the box.
    Make sure the mailing address is accurate.
    Tell your recipient when the gift is expected to arrive.

If you have food handling related questions, please call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.

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