Three Things To Remember When Shipping Seafood In Foam Coolers Across Country

Nancy B. Alston

Shipping perishable seafood across entire states and over long distances requires the right tools for the job; otherwise there is a high likelihood that your delicate cargo will lose temperature integrity and spoil. To prevent this disaster from happening, thousands of companies choose foam shipping coolers (not Styrofoam) constructed from an effective insulating material known as Expanded Polystyrene (or “EPS foam”).

EPS foam shippers serve as a fantastic temperature-sensitive product shipping medium due to being lightweight and thermodynamically reliable, with higher quality shipping coolers able to keep items cold for days when packed correctly.

Further, the material is generally inexpensive and can be economically recycled; too, EPS foam containers used in cross-country seafood shipping can be reused and re-purposed, lasting for years if the manufacturing quality is high enough. Depending on the volume and type of food being shipped, an EPS foam shipping box’s effectiveness is augmented by the use of special thermal gel packs that can be frozen and then reused, or, blocks of dry ice that are cut to fit without being too bulky.

Let’s say you’ve just enjoyed a fine day of charter fishing on the Florida Panhandle or decided to get your hands on some choice lobsters while touring the Maine countryside and you want to have those time-sensitive, perishable foods shipped to California so that friends can enjoy them. Once you’ve purchased a sturdy, reliable shipping cooler), then here are three important things to keep in mind…

SHIPPING COOLER THICKNESS, DENSITY, & QUALITY

Only choose an EPS foam shipper that is of at least one and a half inches of thickness and “FULLY FUSED” – that is, the expanded polystyrene material was properly molded so that it is not only strong but leak resistant. You don’t want a foam shipping container that sweats or allows liquid to seep through gaping pores that result from a rushed manufacturing process. You may pay a little more, but just think of how satisfied you’ll be when the seafood package arrives intact and still fresh. Because the container is of higher quality, it will be reusable for more shipping or to use as a normal foam cooler that could very well last you for years.

SEAFOOD SHIPPING SPEED IS A HIGH PRIORITY

Do not be cheap when it comes to expediting the package. There’s no telling what kind of “interesting” conditions your cargo will encounter during the voyage, therefore the less time in transit, the better. No matter how effective the thermal insulating quality of the foam shipping box, the freshness of your catch or purchase hinges heavily on how quickly you can get it to the destination so that it can be properly refrigerated or cooked upon opening the container. Seafood is very perishable, and there’s no need in increasing any risks for spoilage or contamination or abuse by people handling the package.

USE THE PROPER REFRIGERANT FOR YOUR FOAM SHIPPING COOLER

When you’ve got to move a closed container of fresh seafood over major distances, you’re going to make sure that the stuff you choose to keep it cold is the correct choice and in the right amount. Verify with the shipping company before you send it off. Dry ice is great at keeping things cold or even frozen but not so much for live seafood, such as when you want to ship live lobsters. For that you want to go with gel coolants (gel packs) that have been frozen. They substitute for wet ice (frozen water) because regular ice is not such a great option thanks to its weight, not to mention that it requires extra water-resistant packaging. Of course, you want to ensure that you pack the volume of the container well so that you don’t wind up with a bunch of empty air that needs to be cooled down also. Many people use crinkled up newspaper or other light, cheap “filling”.

For the best result in shipping personal seafood catches or purchases across long distances, use EPS foam shipping coolers to do the job, combined with either gel packs or dry ice depending on the type of seafood you’re shipping. When properly packed in high quality containers and express shipping, your seafood should arrive at its destination still fresh and ready to cook for enjoyment.

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