Frozen food is considered one of the safest forms of food preservation because the freezing temperatures prevent harmful bacteria. This doesn’t necessarily mean that frozen food is foolproof. Several situations that could cause your frozen food to go bad and ways to prevent them from happening. If you’re new to shipping frozen food, or you’re a seasoned veteran staying up to date with the ever-changing world of cold chain logistics, here are a few things to keep in mind that can impact your company’s bottom line.
Improper packaging is the most common mistake in frozen food shipping. It may also be the most involved part of your process. Multiple layers of packaging and ensuring an airtight seal to eliminate any heat or humidity penetration is critical. Your packaging’s inner layer should be waterproof to prevent any leakage from melting refrigerant causing damage to your outer packaging.
The person responsible for packaging your frozen food should have a strong understanding of dry ice and how to store it in proper containers. Although it a great source for cold chain packaging, it could be detrimental to your shipment if misused. If dry ice is packaged in an airtight container, there could be a pressure build up and cause that entire container to burst.
Package your frozen food with the proper amount of dry ice or frozen gel packs to prevent temperature fluctuations from happening. You should also ensure that you have the proper sized box to store your products. Too large with extra space means your goods could become damaged in the process of moving.
To prevent improper packaging, ensure that you have full knowledge of the temperatures required for that shipment and what type of insulation you want to use. Partnering with a 3PL that works with vetted carriers that have a strong understanding of how to transport frozen food will also save your shipment from spoiling or getting damaged.
When you underestimate shipment times, the result could impact your bottom line. If your product arrives to its destination melted or spoiled, you’ll end up with rejected products. This means money lost.
Plan your frozen food shipments ahead and research estimated transit times so you can pack enough coolant material. This will also provide insight on which refrigerant choice would work better for that shipment. One to two blocks of dry ice will last between 18-36 hours in a small Styrofoam shipping container. In a larger shipping container, dry ice can last between two to three days. It’s never a bad idea to make sure you have enough refrigerant packed so that it could last an extra day or two should your shipment have some unforeseen delay. Communicate the estimated transit time with your third-party logistics provider to ensure that the carrier shipping your frozen food has all the necessary information.
Keep record of every detail about your shipment. This is paramount to staying compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and proving that your business has done everything possible to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. This includes the proper labeling of packaging, any providers used, and temperature records from before, during, and after transit.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is transforming the nation’s food safety system into one that is based on the prevention of foodborne illnesses. Our team stays updated on these regulations and have processes in place to stay compliant.
Maintaining the correct temperatures when shipping frozen food means maintaining its quality. You should make sure you choose a provider who is experienced with your frozen food product. Don’t make the mistake in trying to lower shipping costs by shipping mixed temperature goods together, which if not done properly, can compromise their quality and result in rejection of your product. Shipping mixed loads can be done, but you need to make sure it’s with a provider that has trucks with separate compartments capable of holding different temperatures, and the experience to handle it.
Finding and building a relationship with a qualified, experienced carrier to haul your frozen food products can be a long and time-consuming process. At Trinity, we have a network of over 70,000 qualified carrier relationships to help you.
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