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Refrigerants 101

Shipping perishables can be a messy business! Melted ice cream, soggy cakes, not to mention spoiled seafood and meats, are reason enough to shy away from shipping! But it doesn't have to be that way. With a little know-how and the right products your packages can arrive as fresh as the day you sent them.

The proper amount of refrigerants is the difference between fresh food or a spoiled, melting disaster. So just how much dry ice and/or gel packs do you really need? 

Ice Packs or Dry Ice?

Dry ice is used only when shipping FROZEN goods as it will freeze everything inside of the box. Gel packs, more commonly known as ice packs, are used for shipping REFRIGERATED goods that do not require freezing. They are ideal for foods that can maintain temperatures between 32-60°. A combination of gel packs and dry ice will extend shipping times if the items can be frozen for a short time or thawed for a short time.

Ice bricks offer another option for shipping as they hold their shape and are easily inserted inside the shipping box. They outperform gel packs but are not environmentally friendly. Like gel packs they are available in a variety of sizes depending on the need.

winter shipping

  • As a general rule winter shipping requires half the weight in ice of the goods being shipped. This means that 10 lbs. of fresh seafood will require a minimum of 5 lbs. of ice packs. 
  • If shipping with dry ice plan on using about 5-10 lbs. for each 24-hour shipping period depending upon the type of insulation being used.  

summer shipping

  • Summer shipping generally uses a 1:1 match of ice to weight of product being shipped. So 10 lbs. of meat = 10 lbs. of gel packs or ice bricks. 
  • Dry ice requires the standard 5-10 lbs. per 24-hour period. This again will rely on the type of insulation being used. 

The above information offers general guidelines for refrigerants. It is very important to perform internal temperature tests using a temperature data logger or ask us about chamber testing.

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