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Health Tip: Mail-Order Food Gifts

Make sure they were packed safely

(HealthDay News) -- The explosive growth of the Internet has led more and more Americans to order holiday gifts online.

While the mail-order industry has a good safety record, ordering edible products this way can still prompt food safety concerns, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.

This is especially true for meat, poultry, fish and other perishable foods, which must be carefully handled to prevent foodborne illness.

Make sure the company sends perishable items cold or frozen and packed with a cold source. It should be packed in foam or heavy corrugated cardboard, and should be delivered as quickly as possible -- ideally, overnight.

When you receive a food item marked "Keep Refrigerated," open it immediately and check its temperature. The food should arrive frozen or partially frozen with ice crystals visible. If perishable food arrives warm, notify the company. Do not even taste suspect food.

Consumer News