What types of food can I ship with USPS? (+Tips, Costs, and Guidelines)

Last Updated on 07/09/2023 by UPS_ Admin

Shipping food through USPS? Whether it’s a homemade treat or a frozen specialty, ensuring your edibles arrive fresh is paramount. Dive into this comprehensive guide that covers everything from the types of food you can send to packaging tips, costs, and more. Ensure your delectable delights reach their destination in perfect condition! USPS Official Site

What types of food can I ship with USPS

What types of food can I ship with USPS?

With USPS, you can ship a diverse range of food items, both non-perishable and perishable. Here’s a breakdown of the types of food you can ship with USPS:

1. Non-perishable Foods:

  • Canned Goods: These are generally safe to ship as they have extended shelf life and are sealed.
  • Dry Goods: Items such as pasta, grains, and certain snacks.
  • Prepackaged Foods: These are foods that are sealed and don’t require refrigeration before opening.
  • Dried Fruits and Veggies: Unlike their fresh counterparts, dried fruits and vegetables are suitable for mailing due to their long shelf life.

2. Perishable Foods:

  • Baked Goods: These can be mailed, but it’s essential to ensure they are fresh and are not easily squashed.
  • Frozen Foods: These need to be packaged with a cold source, like frozen gel packs or dry ice, to ensure they remain cold during transit.
  • Eggs and Meat: These can be mailed domestically, but they come with specialized mailing requirements. Always ensure they are packaged correctly to avoid spoilage.
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Generally, fresh fruits and veggies that can deteriorate quickly are not advised to be mailed. However, some exceptions might apply based on the destination and shipping speed.

3. Foods Requiring Special Attention:

  • Perishable Mail Guidelines: For foods prepared at home and mailed, it’s advised to use a sturdy box and pack with a cold source like frozen gel packs or dry ice.
  • Refrigerated Foods: If you’re mailing foods that require refrigeration, they are subject to stricter requirements. It’s essential to ensure they stay cool and reach the destination before spoiling.

When choosing to ship food items with USPS, it’s paramount to package them properly and select the appropriate shipping service to ensure they arrive in optimal condition. It’s also a good idea to refer to USPS guidelines or consult with the local post office for specific restrictions and requirements.

Can you ship perishable food through USPS?

Yes, you can ship perishable food through the United States Postal Service (USPS). However, there are guidelines and restrictions to ensure the safe and proper delivery of these items:

  1. Packaging: Perishable items such as meat, dairy, and produce must be packed with insulation and ice packs to maintain a safe temperature during transit.
  2. Service Type: Perishable items must be sent using Priority Mail or a faster service to ensure timely delivery.
  3. Prohibited Items: The USPS prohibits the shipment of certain perishable items. This includes meats that are not adequately cured or dried. The shipping of alcoholic beverages is also restricted.
  4. Shipper’s Responsibility: While USPS allows for the shipment of perishable food items, including refrigerated and frozen foods, it is the shipper’s responsibility to ensure the food does not spoil during transit.

It’s essential to refer to the USPS guidelines or consult with a shipping specialist for specific regulations regarding the type of food you plan to mail.

Can you ship non perishable food through USPS?

Yes, you can ship nonperishable food through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Most nonperishable food items, like cookies, chips, dried fruit, and other dried items, are mailable domestically if they are properly packaged. Non-perishable foods have the advantage of a longer shelf life and don’t require temperature control during shipping, eliminating the need for insulated shipping containers or coolants.

However, while you can mail food, it’s important to note that shipping liquids is discouraged due to the potential for leakage, which could damage other mail items. Many individuals send baked goods or snacks domestically without issues, but it’s essential to ensure the items won’t spoil or leak during transit. Raw foods can be mailed within the country, but international shipping has its restrictions.

For detailed restrictions or specific queries, it’s recommended to check the USPS Shipping Restrictions or consult with your local post office. Remember, while nonperishable foods are generally accepted, it’s always best to ensure they’re packaged securely to prevent any damages during shipping.

Can you ship frozen food USPS?

Yes, you can ship frozen food through USPS. However, there are specific guidelines and recommendations to follow:

  1. Shipping Service: USPS advises using Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express for shipping frozen items. These services provide the best protection against temperature fluctuations during transit.
  2. Postage: Ensure that you include adequate postage on your package. Frozen items often weigh more, and thus may require additional postage.
  3. Refrigeration Services: It’s essential to note that USPS does not offer refrigeration services.
  4. Packaging with Dry Ice: If you’re using dry ice to keep items frozen, ship at your own risk and in compliance with the Publication 52 section on Dry Ice. This guideline ensures that the items are shipped safely and without causing issues for USPS or other mail.
  5. Packaging Requirements: Frozen products must be packaged in a way that prevents leaks and odors. Proper shipping boxes and containers are crucial, and you should not compromise on packaging quality to ensure the safety and condition of the frozen foods.
  6. Other Carriers: Apart from USPS, other carriers like FedEx and UPS can also safely and affordably ship frozen food items.

While you can ship frozen foods through USPS, it’s crucial to follow their guidelines and recommendations to ensure the food arrives in good condition.

How much does it cost to ship frozen food USPS

There are two main options provided by USPS for shipping:

  1. USPS Priority Mail Express: The lead time for this option is 1 business day and the cost is $78.60.
  2. USPS Priority Mail: The lead time ranges from 1-3 business days and the cost is $27.75.

It’s worth noting the following points from the data:

  • For most industries and products, shipping frozen food packages typically costs between $30 and $150.
  • The final cost of shipping frozen food depends on the volume of what you’re sending, its destination, the weight of the package, and the chosen shipping service.
  • Dry ice is recommended for frozen items. If shipping with USPS, you would need an insulated foam container with a minimum of 1-1/2″-thick walls. Additionally, if the item can melt or thaw, it’s advised to line the inside of the container with a watertight plastic liner.
  • USPS does not offer refrigeration services. You may ship frozen articles using dry ice at your own risk, adhering to the guidelines provided by USPS in Publication 52.

Furthermore, for those interested in options outside of USPS, as of October 14, 2021, prices for shipping frozen items using a different service start at $28.24 for Standard Overnight, $30.31 for Priority Overnight, and $60.31 for First Overnight.

Overall, while USPS offers several options for shipping perishable items, Priority Mail is the best choice for frozen food, delivering typically within 1-3 days. However, the average cost can vary based on the contents, dimensions, weight, and other factors, and it’s recommended to keep the size of the box below 12 inches and consider the weight of additional items like ice packs or dry ice when calculating final shipping costs.

How Do I Ship Food Through USPS

Shipping perishable items, such as food, requires extra care to ensure they arrive fresh and undamaged. USPS is a popular option for shipping food due to its affordability and extensive network of shipping facilities. In this section, we’ll discuss the basics of shipping food with USPS and provide tips on how to package your items properly.

USPS Shipping Services for Food Items

USPS offers various shipping services, but when it comes to shipping food, Priority Mail is a top choice.

How to Ship Food USPS: When shipping food with USPS, it’s important to choose the right service to ensure timely delivery. Priority Mail is recommended for perishable items, as it typically arrives within 1-3 days. This fast delivery time helps minimize the risk of spoilage or damage.

Packaging Tips for Shipping Food with USPS

How to Ship Food USPS: Proper packaging is crucial when shipping food. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Use sturdy, well-insulated containers: Choose a strong box or container that can withstand the rigors of shipping. Insulated containers, such as styrofoam coolers, can help maintain temperature and protect perishable items.
  2. Wrap items individually: Wrap each food item separately in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent cross-contamination and leakage.
  3. Use cold packs: For perishable items that need to stay cold, use cold packs or gel packs. It’s worth noting that while USPS allows the use of dry ice for shipping perishables, there are restrictions and guidelines that must be followed.
  4. Fill empty spaces with cushioning material: Fill any empty spaces in the box with bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or crumpled newspaper to prevent items from shifting during transit.
  5. Seal the package securely: Use heavy-duty packing tape to seal all seams and openings.

For perishable foods prepared at home and mailed, follow these guidelines:

  • Ship in a sturdy box.
  • Pack with a cold source: i.e., frozen gel packs or dry ice.
  • When using dry ice: It’s important to note that there are specific guidelines and restrictions when using dry ice with USPS. Check the USPS guidelines for shipping with dry ice to ensure you’re compliant.
  • Wrap box in two layers of brown paper.
  • Use permanent markers to label the outside of the box.

Remember, always check with USPS or visit their official website for any updates or changes in their shipping guidelines.


USPS offers a versatile solution for shipping a range of food items, both perishable and non-perishable. Key considerations include choosing the right service like Priority Mail for timeliness, adhering to packaging best practices to prevent spoilage and damage, and consulting USPS guidelines for specific restrictions. Whether you’re shipping baked goods, frozen items, or dry goods, ensuring proper packaging and shipping compliance is paramount to ensure food reaches its destination in optimal condition.

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