Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I frequently bring snacks and groceries from India to the U.S. (remembering to follow the laws against fresh fruit/vegetables) that I can't find there in the U.S. Now, I'm planning to bring a food that requires refrigeration.

Checked in or carry on, is there a safe place where I can carry such perishable foods with me without them rotting during the long international journey with a layover in between, or do I have to ship them to my destination using a special shipping service (perishable goods)?

share|improve this question
3  
Can you tell me the specific "Indian Food" you are carrying? I might be able to help, I do it quite often. Usually I just freeze it and after I reach home, I take it out and put it in the fridge. Ice-packs are also a good option. –  Aditya Somani Aug 1 at 1:37
    
Once in the air cargo holds are little above freezing anyway. –  pnuts Aug 1 at 1:55
    
@Adi This is a general, canonical question. The scenario I've given is for my specific situation, but I want this to be widely applicable to any food that requires refrigeration. –  damryfbfnetsi Aug 1 at 2:11
    
@damryfbfnetsi So refrigeration is mandatory. Alright, no worries. –  Aditya Somani Aug 1 at 2:14
1  
The duration of the layover seems relevant, and its location, the season and at night time or during the day. –  pnuts Aug 1 at 2:21

2 Answers 2

I would suggest a method as simple as any. Freeze it before you leave, put it in your check-in luggage and as soon as you reach the other side, put it in the freezer.

I have done this many times with products which require refrigeration (can be milk based as well) and everything remains okay after the flight.

If you wish to be extra careful or if the product will lose texture after refrigeration, try ice packs instead. They are also quite effective and also keep cold for longer, but unfortunately they also count as additional weight.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, but do I put it in the freezer or the refrigerator upon arrival? And it's pnuts's first comment true on the question? –  damryfbfnetsi Aug 1 at 14:48
    
As far as I know, the cargo hold is temperature controlled, otherwise how do you expect dogs to travel in it? Depending on what product it is, if refrigerator is suited for long time storage, refrigerator is fine. Otherwise freezer definitely works. Freezer would prevent unnecessary dehydration in the long run. –  Aditya Somani Aug 1 at 17:14
    
Speaking of which, I heard of someone who managed to carry Amul Cheese chiplets from India to the U.S. on a journey similar to mine, and then take three hours to drive home, and the cheese was still cold and not spoiled. I'm curious as to whether he was just lucky or if it will definitely be safe for the food. –  damryfbfnetsi Aug 1 at 17:49
1  
Cargo areas are not always heated. If the cargo manifest doesn't include live animals they only get heat that bleeds through from the passenger area above. But if animals are onboard the pilots will turn on the heat in the cargo section. –  Tom Aug 1 at 20:57
    
I'm pretty sure it won't be spoilt. I have personally carried milk based Indian sweets after freezing them and they were good as new. :) –  Aditya Somani Aug 2 at 3:54

Dry ice (CO2) is a better alternative to regular ice. Doesn't leak, much colder, lighter... Freezing is not all that effective if the item has a low water content, like some cheeses.

Check with the airline, but in general dry ice is considered a "mildly hazardous" item - pack it properly in a vented container, no more than X kilograms and it's good to go.

In Canada dry ice up to 2.5kg is accepted as carry-on.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.