How to Ship Meat and Perishables with USPS

Learn the best way to ship meat with the United States Postal Service
Ship meat with USPS

Let’s meat up! As eCommerce continues to boom, more meat and perishable food is being shipped across the country than ever before. With new food-centric delivery apps like Goldbelly, it’s not uncommon now for someone in Los Angeles to order a steak from their favorite New York restaurant and have it delivered to their doorstep. If you’re an online retailer trying to get in on the action, we’ve got you covered. This guide is all about how to ship meat with USPS, and the most effective way to get it done.

USPS Allows You to Ship Meat, But Only Domestically

The US Postal Service is pretty lenient when it comes to shipping meat. All you have to do is make sure the meat conforms to regulations set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USPS also don’t restrict you to any specific type of service for shipping meat, as is the case when shipping hazardous materials. That being said, you can only ship meat with USPS domestically.

Our Recommendation? Use Priority Mail Express

Even though you can use any USPS service to ship meat, our suggestion is to use USPS Priority Mail Express service. Speed is the most important factor when shipping perishable items, and you want your meat to reach their final destination as quickly as possible.

Priority Mail Express offers next-day delivery to most urban destinations, and 2-day delivery to and from rural locations. The best part is, you’re guaranteed to get your money back if the shipment doesn’t make it there in time! This service also comes with $100 of built in insurance to cover you if your contents spoil or get lost during transit.

Fill Your Package with Sufficient Cooling Material

It’s also important to keep your contents cool during transit, or else they will spoil. We recommend including either frozen gel packs, wet ice (melted water), or dry ice inside a strong, corrugated cardboard box. Whatever you decide to use, you should also include enough absorbent packing material to catch any leakage or liquid runoff.

If you do include dry ice, there are some specific guidelines you’ll need to follow. We’ve listed those out for you below:

  • Make sure you don’t exceed the 5 pound per package maximum weight limit for dry ice
  • Mark the package with “Dry Ice” or “Carbon Dioxide Solid”
  • Affix the UN 1845 label to your package
  • Mark the package with the net weight of dry ice in kilograms (1 kg = roughly 2.205 pounds)
  • Include name and address of the shipper
  • Include name and address of the recipient

Save the Most Money on with Online Shipping Software

Priority Mail Express can get pretty expensive. So, you should save yourself money and buy postage online with shipping software. Online shipping software allows you to access the deepest USPS discounts like Commercial Pricing, which USPS typically only reserves for huge commercial shippers. When you use free shipping software you can print off your postage at home, skip the lines at the Post Office, and can save up to 15% off retail prices!

16 Comments

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  1. lindsay brown

    Hi there! We run a pecan farm and have had an issue with selling chocolate pecans during the summer due to them melting when being shipped. What is the best way to keep costs low, but also get customers their pecans without the chocolate melting?

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Lindsay – Thanks for writing in! This is a real pickle you’re in, since the summer months are always the bane of any chocolate shipper’s existence. To keep costs low, I would suggest firstly using shipping software to capture the best shipping discounts with USPS. You can learn more about which shipping software provider may best fit your needs here. If your boxes are small enough so you can ship your pecans via Priority Mail Cubic service, that’s the best bet! In this case, weight doesn’t matter until you go over 20 pounds…so if I were you, I would load up your packages with frozen gel packs as much as you can. That’s probably the cheapest way to do it, because if you with FedEx cold packaging or another specialty service like that, it’s going to be much more expensive. I hope this is helpful!

      Reply  
  2. Darleen Wilkins

    I want to ship pork pies from NH to Fl for thanksgiving. Assuming I should freeze it first then package with ice packs? Any suggestions?

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Darleen – that’s a great idea! Following the steps in the guide above should help you out…if I were you, I would freeze the meat, then line your package with absorbent material (rags, towels, etc), and then fill it with frozen gel packs. Also, ship with USPS Priority Mail Express so it gets there as fast as possible!

      Reply  
  3. Rhonda Brennan

    I am visiting in Arizona, I live in Texas. I need to ship Salsa and Burritos from my favorite Mexican food restaurant. Any suggestions on how to package the salsa so it arrives edible? I plan on using dry ice , is there any suggestions on the type or size of cardboard box to use? Or is the standard priority express box acceptable?

    Reply  
  4. Sharon Martin

    My Grand daughter is in Pullman Washington at the University. She is homesick for Granny’s cooking. I want to send her 2 meals. Approx weight 5 lbs from Tacoma WA.. Will this arrive the next day with priority mail?

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Sharon – that’s a sweet thought! If you want these meals to arrive the next day, then you should opt for Priority Mail Express rather than Priority Mail. It’s more expensive, but it’s the only next-day shipping service that USPS offers. Just be sure to drop off your package as early in the day as possible at the Post Office, so it has the best chance of being delivered on time the next day. We have a guide here that goes into everything you need to know about Priority Mail Express: https://www.shippingschool.com/usps-priority-mail-express-what-you-need-to-know/. I hope this is helpful!

      Reply  
  5. Martha

    My kids are moving from Oklahoma to Alaska they have about 350 pounds of beef how is the best way to ship it?

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Martha – 350 pounds is a heavy amount to ship, so I think the best way to do this may be to break up all the meat into several different boxes, maybe 10 boxes that weigh 35 pounds each. Depending on the size of the boxes, you’ll probably want to use USPS, because they offer the cheapest rates when shipping to Alaska. You can check out some rates here, if you type in the dimensions and weight of the boxes they’ll be using. Hope this is helpful!

      Reply  
    • Melanie Stephenson

      Did you ship the beef to Alaska? I’m wanting to send some to my son in Alaska but not sure how to do it. Thought maybe you might have some pointers. Thanks!

      Reply  
  6. TRACY GOLDMAN

    Would like to know how much it will be to seen meat to Chicago from Texas??!!!

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Tracy, thanks for the comment! The price of how much it will cost to ship your meat from Texas to Chicago depends on the size of your package, and how much it weighs. The best way to get a rate quote is to use this instant rate calculator here. It will show you how much it’ll cost at the absolute cheapest prices, and the different services you can use.

      Reply  
  7. Barry Morris

    i would like more information on shipping 8lb packages of beef to ny

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hey Barry, it all depends on how big your box is, and where you’re shipping from. You can use this instant USPS rate calculator to see how much it’ll cost you when you type in all your information!

      Reply  
  8. Kim

    I would really like to get some more pricing info on Shipping from NYC places like Texas, LA, Florida, Arizona, Washington, Kentucky, Chicago, Wisconsin and more far out places for cheap.

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Kim, sorry for the late reply here! The cost of shipping your boxes depends on how much they weigh, how big they are, and how far they need to travel. You can use this instant USPS rate calculator to plug in your info and get super fast quotes at the cheapest rates!

      Reply  

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