TIPS FOR MAILING GOOD GIFTS TO OUR U.S. SERVICE MEMBERS OVERSEASBy L on Friday, December 9, 2016
“During this holiday season, many of our family get-togethers are not complete with the absence of family and friends who are bravely defending our country,” stated Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little. “As we send gifts overseas for them to enjoy, many times we want to add some of the goodies that we enjoy at home over the holidays. We need to remember to choose foods that are not perishable, can tolerate a range of temperatures, and will not break with rough handling. Make sure you mail in a timely fashion so the gift can be received and enjoyed for the holiday.”
Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) Public Health Coordinator, offers a recommended list of suggested food items to send as gifts. You can also check with your local post office to see if there are restrictions on food items based on the specific zip code to which you are mailing:
- Hard candies and firm homemade sweets such as pralines and toffee are safe because their high sugar content prevents bacterial growth.
- Dried fruits, such as raisins and apricots, and commercially-packaged trail mix and nuts, need no refrigeration.
- Dried beef or poultry, such as beef jerky, turkey jerky, or beef slims are safe to mail. Bacteria cannot multiply in food preserved by removing moisture.
- Dehydrated soups and fruit drink mixes are lightweight and safe to mail.
- Regional condiments, such as hot sauce and Cajun seasonings in packets, are useful for spicing up Meals Ready to Eat (MREs).
- Dense and dry baked goods, such as fruit cakes and biscotti, are good choices for mailing because they will not become moldy.
- Commercially-packaged cookies in airtight tins, dry cookies such as ginger snaps and specialty crackers are good choices.
Remember, because of the delivery time and distances between the U.S. and duty stations overseas, if you are ordering food on the internet, NEVER order any food that requires refrigeration.
Food gifts not recommended:
- Do not send canned foods because the temperatures reached during mailing are very high and can affect safety and quality.
- Do not send high-moisture baked goods, such as pumpkin breads, because they mold easily.
- Fragile foods, such as delicate cookies, probably won’t make the trip intact.
- Chocolate in cookies is likely to melt at the high temperatures.
Please visit the Ocean County Health Department website for other tips on food safety during the holidays and for other information or follow the Health Department on Twitter@OCpublichealth or like the Health Department on Facebook.