Shipping perishables by air cargo

lobster on a boat being handled by person in gloves

How to ship perishable food and products

Just because your package has a best-before date doesn’t mean we can’t ship it, but there may be some special requirements to take into account.

Perishable item shipments must be packed in leak-proof containers that are visibly, legibly and durably marked with the description of the contents and must indicate if the contents are of a fragile nature. Whenever possible, perishable shipments should be stored in order to minimize exposure to extreme temperatures.

Types of perishables we ship:

  • Fruits/Vegetables
  • Fresh Seafood
  • Frozen Seafood
  • Fish
  • Animal Diagnostic Specimens

Shipping fresh seafood

When shipping live fish, please remember the following:

  • Shipments of live fish must be enclosed in a flexible plastic inner container (at least three millimetres thick) to prevent puncture, and sealed to prevent leakage.
  • Absorbent materials must be used between the sealed plastic container and the inside wall of the outer packaging unless the packaging design ensures the containment of liquid.
  • The outer packaging should be made of corrugated or solid fiberboard with a water-resistant coating. Insulated material should be used to protect live fish from changes in temperature.
  • Heat packs should be used whenever live fish may be exposed to sub-freezing temperatures for extended periods of time.
  • Each carton must be visibly, legibly and durably marked with the words "live fish" on the top and at least on one side.

When shipping seafood, please remember the following:

  • Seafood shipments must also be packed in leak-proof containers.
  • Plastic bags of four millimetres thickness or two plastic bags of two millimetres thickness each are required for packing such perishable shipments. The plastic bags must be securely sealed to prevent leakage, except when utilized for shipments of live seafood.
  • Styrofoam inserts or protective absorbent materials should be placed between the plastic bag and the inner wall of the shipping carton.
  • If the shipment requires refrigeration, it should be packed with a self-contained refrigerant to ensure that storage temperatures are maintained for a period of not less than 48 hours.
  • Perishable shipments should be stored in order to minimize exposure to extreme temperatures.
  • Dry ice is not an acceptable form of coolant.
  • Outer cartons should be made of corrugated paperboard or solid fiberboard.
  • External resistance to punctures is critical to ensure that the carton will remain leak proof.
  • Cartons should be secured with two nylon bands around the width of each carton.