Shipping Perishables with Dry Ice

Shipping Perishables With Dry Ice

The solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2), dry ice, turns into gas without leaving behind any liquid residue, a process called sublimation. This makes it a valuable and safe option for shipping perishables: food, medical supplies, and other temperature-sensitive products.

Dry ice is an indispensable component of many scientific applications, from pharmaceutical lab research to DNA studies and genetic engineering. Interestingly, it is also used to make chilly smoke effects on stage and in movies. 

Note that dry ice is a hazardous material that can cause asphyxiation and skin damage. The Department of Transportation (DOT), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) all have regulations in place to govern the shipping of dry ice.

Here are some important things to keep in mind while shipping perishables with dry ice.


Perishable items must be packed in insulated containers to prevent temperature fluctuations. The container should be labeled clearly and must be sturdy and leak-proof to avoid any damage to the contents during transport.

To ship perishables via air, the outermost container must be labeled with a hazard class 9 label, UN 1845, and the net weight of dry ice in kilograms.

Pack perishable items with sturdy material, such as good quality fiberboard or plastic or wooden boxes. It is important to add a layer of Styrofoam to the box and wrap the food in plastic wrap or paper bags before packing. 

It’s best to alternate layers of dry ice and food items and to fill gaps with bubble wrap or newspaper.

Precautions for Handling and Storage

Dry ice must always be handled with gloves, as it can cause serious damage when it touches bare skin. It should not be stored in airtight containers or placed in an area with poor ventilation, as carbon dioxide gas can build up and create a hazardous environment. 

Special coolers are designed for storing dry ice, and they should be placed in well-ventilated areas. Dry ice coolers should not be stored in closets, cabinets, refrigerators, walk-in coolers, or cold rooms.

Amount of Dry Ice for Shipping Perishables

To determine the amount of dry ice needed to ship perishables, consider the weight of the items, how long they need to stay frozen while in transit, the initial temperature, and the shipping destination. 

Shipping perishables in the summer requires more dry ice than shipping items in the winter. 

For example, 6 lbs of dry ice may be needed to keep 20 lbs of food frozen for about six hours. Preserving the same amount of food for another six hours may require an additional 10 lbs of dry ice. To preserve the perishable items for an entire day, add 8 to 15 lbs of dry ice.

Source Dry Ice from nexAir

Shipping perishable items requires careful planning and consideration, especially when it comes to the use of dry ice. The regulations set forth by the DOT and ICAO/FAA must be followed to ensure the safety of the shipment and those handling it. Choosing a reliable supplier is crucial to ensure that the dry ice used is of high quality and the right amount is provided.

To this end, nexAir offers dry ice in bulk, among other gases, to ship perishable items. If you are looking for a reliable bulk provider of gases, including oxygen, nitrogen, and specialty gas, look no further than nexAir. We are proud to provide high-quality products and go above and beyond to assist clients with the nuances of using them. Contact us today!


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