We’ve all used coolers to keep our food and drinks cold when refrigeration is not available. However, many goods such as food, pharmaceuticals, wine, and other temperature-sensitive items need to be shipped and stored at a consistent temperature, sometimes for long periods of time. In these situations it's important to understand how cold gel packs can help store your temperature sensitive products correctly.
There are many types of cold gel packs, each with a different purpose. Some are more durable and leak-proof; others are made to be used once and thrown away. There is a lot of incorrect information out there about cold packs for food and pharmaceuticals. Below are several of the most common questions, with answers, from an expert team.
How do I use Ice Cold Gel Packs?
Using cold gel packs for shipping is as simple as placing the pack inside a freezer until desired temperature is achieved. Afterwards, the packs are ready to ensure your items arrive at their destination at the proper temperature.
How long do Ice Cold Gel Packs last?
Standard ice begins to melt quickly, leaving your dry goods wet and stored at an improper temperature. Once frozen, standard packs last up to 65% longer than regular frozen ice derived from water. The length of time also varies between the size, shape, and density of your package. When packed properly in a well-insulated cooler, cold gel packs can sometimes last days. Generally speaking, Ice Cold Gel Packs can keep food at a safe temperature for 24 hours.
Are Ice Cold Gel Packs safe around perishable items like food?
Absolutely! Cold gel packs are non-toxic and designed to resist leaks. However, if any of your frozen food does come in contact with the contents of the gel packs you should avoid consuming it.
What types of gel packs are sold today and what is the difference between them?
There are several varieties of shipping gel packs on the market today, from hard bottles to soft, flexible gel packs. Some options include:
- Blue industrial grade gel packs demonstrate strong resistance to tears during harsh handling. Many are made with a recyclable polyethylene plastic to be tough and puncture-resistant.
- Consumer-grade gel packs – are printed with safety labeling specifically for individual use and may be designed only for lunch boxes or coolers as they are not tested for temperature stability or to hold the temperature for specific periods of time.
- Drain friendly gel packs are a non-toxic, easy to dispose of product designed to last as long as standard gel packs but safe to pour down the drain, into your trash or even in your front yard.
- Durable, leak-proof gels made for more rugged environments or ones where they would be used over and over many times
Are gel packs safer to use than dry ice?
Dry ice might be the answer to your shipping needs, but keep in mind that throughout your packages travel, the dry ice will eventually convert back to carbon dioxide, meaning it doesn’t thaw or melt; it just gets gassy. This gaseous element absolutely needs to escape during the length of the journey, so plan accordingly and make sure your packaging is ventilated enough for the gas to escape.
The best way to determine if your shipment requires dry ice or ice cold gel packs is to first consider the temperature you will need when shipping. If you need your package to be shipped cold but not quite frozen (30-60 degrees), gel packs are the best option. There are several rules and regulations to think about when shipping temperature-controlled foods and pharmaceuticals; however, shipping with cold gel packs is easier, more cost effective, and safer than traditional refrigeration methods.
Can You Bring Ice Cold Gel Packs On A Plane?
The TSA has very clear and concise guidelines for traveling safely while shipping cold packs, ice gel packs, or any other frozen liquids like water. You are absolutely allowed to bring your reusable cold packs with you in your checked luggage. The liquids inside your ice pack are non-toxic and considered safe for travel unlike hazardous chemicals which are forbidden on airlines.
For carry on bags it does get a bit more complicated. In order to pass TSA guidelines your Ice Cold Gel Pack must be COMPLETELY frozen solid. The TSA does not allow gel packs that are partially frozen or slushy. If your gel pack is melted, slushy, or partially thawed it must meet the TSA 3-1-1 rule. Meaning all liquids must be less than 3.5 ounces, stored in a clear plastic bag, and remember, only one bag per traveler is allowed in your carryon luggage.
Generally speaking, gel cold packs are best for maintaining the temperature of chilled goods above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). For example, in the food industry, the FDA requires that all raw protein perishable food items reach their destination at a maximum of 40°F. Also, injectable medicines generally need to stay within 2-8°C. Consider this while packing your cold products.
Can I dump the contents of Ice Cold Gel Packs down the sink?
You should never dump the contents of our gel packs down the sink. Please study and follow your local recycling and waste removal guidelines.
Cold Gel Packs are the solution that cold chain logistics needs to ensure your product stays ice cold! Whether you’re shipping food, pharmaceuticals, liquids, or any other perishable item, their non-toxic gel packs are here to help you keep cold!
With locations in Dallas and Los Angeles our team of specialists provide the perfect solution for your cold chain supply needs. Our non-toxic, leak proof bags come in a variety of sizes to ensure your package arrives safe, on time, and at the correct temperature. Contact our sales department to see how gel packs can innovate your cold logistic shipping needs.