Best Practices for Shipping Meat and Poultry

Shipping meat and poultry requires careful planning and adherence to strict regulations to ensure the food’s safety and quality are maintained during transport. Whether you’re a logistics industry professional or a customer looking to ship perishable goods, understanding the best practices for shipping meat and poultry is essential. In this guide, we will explain the key considerations and steps involved in safely and efficiently shipping meat and poultry, read along to learn more!

Understanding the Regulations and Requirements

Shipping meat and poultry is subject to very specific regulations to prevent contamination and ensure food safety so it is in a safe state when it reaches your plate. Regardless of your role in the shipment process, it is essential to familiarize yourself with these regulations. The specific rules and regulations vary depending on the country or region you are shipping to and from, so be sure to research thoroughly if you are shipping meat yourself. Regulations typically cover aspects such as temperature control, packaging, labeling, and documentation.


Choosing the Right Packaging

Proper packaging is one of the most important aspects involved in maintaining the quality and safety of meat and poultry during transit. It is often best to use insulated packaging materials such as foam or polystyrene to keep the products at the required temperature. You must also ensure that the packaging is leak-proof and sturdy enough to withstand handling and transportation. Sometimes, the exact packaging will depend on the specific meat, cut or shape so be sure to tailor your packaging to the meat you will be shipping.


Temperature Control

Maintaining the correct temperature in your shipment vessel is absolutely essential when shipping meat and poultry. Most perishable goods such as meat and poultry should be kept at temperatures below 40°F (4°C) to prevent bacterial growth and to maintain the quality of the meat. Using refrigerated trucks or insulated containers is a non-negotiable when it comes to transporting meat products. It is also recommended to monitor the temperature of the vessel throughout transit to ensure all goes to plan.


Labeling and Documentation

When shipping meat and poultry, be sure to properly label each product and their casing. Labels should include information such as the product name, weight, packaging date, expiration date, and any handling instructions that handlers will need to move the product. Additionally, ensure that all required documentation, such as a bill of lading and health certificate, is complete and accurate.

If you’re shipping meat and poultry internationally, you must also ensure compliance with any relevant import and export regulations. This may include obtaining the necessary permits, certifications, and inspections. Work with a reputable logistics provider who understands the regulatory requirements for shipping food products.


Choosing the Right Shipping Method

The shipping method you choose will depend on factors such as the distance, quantity, and destination of the shipment. For long-distance shipments, consider using expedited or refrigerated shipping services to ensure that the products remain fresh. It’s also important to consider the transit time and the availability of refrigeration facilities at the destination so be sure to coordinate with any others who will be involved throughout the process.


Monitoring and Tracking

Monitoring the shipment is crucial to ensure that the products remain at the correct temperature throughout transit. Use temperature monitoring devices or data loggers to track the temperature and humidity levels inside the packaging. This information can help you identify and address any issues that may arise during transit and resolve them before they become a bigger problem.


Proper Handling and Storage

Proper handling and storage practices are essential to prevent contamination and ensure the quality of meat and poultry. Store the products in a clean, dry, and refrigerated environment before shipping. Avoid cross-contamination by separating raw and cooked products and using separate packaging materials. Often times, the shipper will have recommended handling instructions to follow so be sure to utilize their expertise.


Ensuring Safe and Efficient Shipping of Meat and Poultry

Shipping meat and poultry requires careful planning and adherence to regulations to ensure food safety and quality. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, logistics industry personnel and customers can ensure that meat and poultry products arrive at their destination fresh and safe for consumption. 

Whether you’re shipping meat and poultry for personal or commercial use, these best practices will help you navigate the complexities of shipping perishable goods and ensure a smooth and efficient shipping process. If you are looking to ship meat and poultry with a trusted logistics company, contact us today for a free quote!  

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