Ice/gel packs and dry ice (solid carbon dioxide)


It is recommended to apply frozen ice/gel packs on top of fish fillets before closing the fish boxes.  Suitable ice pack size is 125 – 250 g for 3 – 7 kg of fish fillets.

Research carried out at Matís have shown that ice/gel packs are useful to protect fish fillets from undesirable fluctuations in temperature, read more here and here.

The figure below demonstrates how an increase in temperature in fillets can be minimised by the use of icepacks if the ambient temperature is around 20°C during six hours.  The temperature of fillets stored in expanded polystyrene box with icepack increases from 2°C to 5°C, but if no icepack is in the box the temperature increases to 10°C. The temperature of fillets stored in corrugated plastic box with icepack increases from 2°C to around 11°C, but if no icepack is used the temperature increases to 14°C, for further information see here.


Research conducted at Matis has also shown the advantages of using dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) as a cooling medium in fish boxes. By using dry ice, the cooling occurred more rapidly and the cooling time was extended as compared to the use of traditional icepacks, for further information see here.

However, if dry ice is used to cool fish exported by air freight it is categorised as dangerous goods. Dangerous goods and their maximum quantities, packaging, handling, marking and documentation requirements are specified in detail in the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR), published annually by IATA (International Air Transport Association). These regulations are based on the regulations from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO-TI), which are in turn derived from United Nations recommendations concerning the transportation of dangerous goods for all modes of transport.

The carrier requires the shipper to complete and sign a Shipper`s Declaration for Dangerous Goods. This is a legal document declaring that the shipper has complied with all relevant regulations and instructions. It must be completed in duplicate and strictly following the detailed instructions given in IATA DGR 8.1.6.




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