Why Is Dry Ice Used In Food Shipping?

dry ice for shipping food

While purchasing food online, you might have come across dry ice. At a glance, you might remember its use for Halloween and that it emits a spooky gas. Now, that might make you wonder if it is safe for food delivery. More importantly, why do online food vendors use it?

This article contains the answers to your questions. But before we delve into the details, let’s do a recap on dry ice. What is it? Is it safe?

Understanding Dry Ice: What You Should Know

What Is Dry Ice?

Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide. It has various functions that include cleaning and preservation of medical supplies. Beyond those two functions, dry ice also preserves food – and it does that effectively.

Do you know that dry ice freezes food to about -78.5oC? Imagine how chilled and fresh the content of your favorite food delivery box will remain at such a temperature! And the best part of it all is that it can preserve your food for a very long time.

Regardless, we understand you yet have your worries about the carbon content of dry ice. So, is it safe?

Is Dry Ice Safe For Food Shipping?

Short answer: yes!

dry ice in box with packed frozen food

And yes, we know that carbon dioxide can be pretty harmful if inhaled for an extended period. It can cause coma and all sorts of illnesses. However, remember that dry ice is not even in a gaseous state yet. And even in the gaseous state, you must be exposed to more than 10% concentration of carbon dioxide to suffer any complication.

Moreover, your food won’t come in direct contact with dry ice. Your food items will be in a sealed container. In other words, the solid cooling agent is safe for shipping your food.

That said, let’s explain why online food vendors use dry ice.

3 Reasons Why Dry Ice Is Used For Food Shipping?

It Is Cost-effective

Unlike other cooling agents, dry ice is incredibly affordable. And because it is produced in large quantities industrially, these solid bars are accessible too. Now, here is the effect of all that:

Food vendors will spend less to keep your food fresh and maintain lower production costs. When that happens, the price of your favorite food package and vegetables will stay affordable – everyone wins!

It Does Not Alter The Taste Of Your Food

Remember we said dry ice does not come in direct contact with your food. Well, it does not leave residue behind too. While all that is reassuring, you might still worry if its gas will get into your food some way. Well, that doesn’t happen.

Regardless of how long your food items stay in dry ice, it does not alter their taste or smell. All dry ice does is keep your food as fresh and natural as possible.

It Can Work With Other Cooling Agents

With dry ice, you needn’t throw out your other cooling agents. You can use them all together. In particular, dry ice works perfectly with gel ice packs.

However, if you would be using dry ice as cooling agent for your food at home, you should know a few things about the handling and disposal.

How To Handle Dry Ice Safely

There is no special care for dry ice when you receive the packed food you ordered.

Outside that, ensure you always use the compound in well-ventilated areas.

Precautionary note: don’t use dry ice in small compartments. The space won’t be adequate for ventilation.

How about properly disposal of dry ice?

There is no definite guide on where to dispose of dry ice. Nonetheless, don’t dispose of the compound in tight spaces with poor ventilation. Examples of such places include waste containers and sewers.

That said, always dispose of your dry ice (the leftover) in a well-ventilated area. And about that, ensure it completely dissolves before you leave.

Overall, dry ice is a safe and effective cooling agent. It is particularly perfect for shipping food – for both frozen and regular cold items. Besides, it is cheap. And if you are worried about aftertaste, the compound doesn’t alter the taste of your food items.

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Peter Jameson

Peter Jameson is passionate about eating healthy food. While he is doing his search for this, he will share that with the Couch Potato Delivery's readers. As an experienced home cook, he knows what to look for in the food delivery services he reviews. You can find more about him here.