How to Ship Meat & Perishables with USPS


Let’s meat up! As eCommerce continues to boom, more meats and perishable food are being shipped across the country than ever before. With new food-centric delivery apps like Goldbelly, it’s not uncommon now for someone in Los Angeles to order a steak from their favorite New York restaurant and have it delivered to their doorstep. If you’re an online retailer trying to get in on the action, we’ve got you covered. This guide is all about how to ship meat with USPS, and the most effective way to get it done.

Table of Contents

  • USPS Only Allows You to Ship Meat Domestically
  • Priority Mail Express is Our Recommendation for Shipping Meat
  • Fill Your Package with Sufficient Cooling Material
  • Save the Most Money on Labels with Online Shipping Software

USPS Only Allows You to Ship Meat Domestically

The US Postal Service is pretty lenient when it comes to shipping meat. All you have to do is make sure the meat conforms to regulations set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USPS also doesn’t restrict you to any specific type of service for shipping meat, as is the case when shipping hazardous materials. That being said, you can only ship meat with USPS domestically.

Priority Mail Express is Our Recommendation for Shipping Meat

Even though you can use any USPS service to ship meat, our suggestion is to use USPS Priority Mail Express service. Speed is the most important factor when shipping perishable items, and you want your meat to reach its final destination as quickly as possible.

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Priority Mail Express offers next-day delivery to most urban destinations and 2-day delivery to and from rural locations. The best part is, you’re guaranteed to get your money back if the shipment doesn’t make it there in time! This service also comes with $100 of built-in insurance to cover you if your contents spoil or get lost during transit.

Fill Your Package with Sufficient Cooling Material

It’s also important to keep your perishable contents cool during transit, or else they will spoil. We recommend including either frozen gel packs, wet ice (melted water), or dry ice inside a strong, corrugated cardboard box. Whatever you decide to use, you should also include enough absorbent packing material to catch any leakage or liquid runoff.

If you do include dry ice, there are some specific guidelines you’ll need to follow. We’ve listed those out for you below:

  • Make sure you don’t exceed the 5-pound per package maximum weight limit for dry ice
  • Mark the package with “Dry Ice” or “Carbon Dioxide Solid”
  • Affix the UN 1845 label to your package
  • Mark the package with the net weight of dry ice in kilograms (1 kg = roughly 2.205 pounds)
  • Include the name and address of the shipper
  • Include the name and address of the recipient

Save the Most Money on Labels with Online Shipping Software

Priority Mail Express can get pretty expensive. So, you should save yourself money and buy postage online with shipping software. Online shipping software allows you to access the deepest USPS discounts like Commercial Pricing, which USPS typically only reserves for huge commercial shippers. When you use free shipping software you can print off your postage at home and can save up to 15% off of what you’d pay to ship the same package at retail prices!

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On top of giving you access to the deepest possible discounts, most shipping software companies give you the option to schedule pickups for your packages through their websites, as well. When you schedule a USPS pickup, your letter carrier comes to pick up your packages whenever they usually deliver your mail and then transports them back to the outgoing USPS facility themselves. This allows you to save money and time by skipping a trip to the Post Office…and makes using shipping software a win/win.

Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To access the deepest discounts on all USPS services, check out our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>