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Do freezing temperatures affect health food products?

Photo credit – August Brill via Flickr

Seagate ships products throughout the year. During the winter months, we ship products into some very very cold regions, such that the USPS and UPS trucks storage compartments can be well below freezing. Products left on porches or in mailboxes will be further subjected to sub-freezing temps.  A customer Diane D. of Coon Rapids, MN expressed this concern, ” I just ordered some olive leaf extract drops and throat spray. It will be below freezing here when the order comes. Will it freeze if it is in the mailbox for a short amount of time? Thank you”.

Seagate replied:

Hello Diane,

These specific items are water-based products, so depending upon the temperature and time exposed, they can freeze. In your case, most likely it will arrive frozen.  However, freezing will not affect the quality at all after they have defrosted. We ship all over the country, including Alaska during the winter, and have not had anyone complain.
Thank you, Seagate

Seagate processes and ships a variety of products that include powders, capsules, liquids (water), and liquids (oils). If you follow these precautions with our products, there should not be any problem if the packages have been received in temperatures below freezing or even below zero:
1.  Powders and Capsules – These products should not be opened until the bottle reaches room temperature. The reason is that if you open it and the temperature inside the bottle is much colder than the temperature in your house, it is likely that the moisture in the air that comes in contact with the inside of the bottle will condense and form droplets of water. These drops will either be absorbed directly into the powder or by the vegicap if it is a capsule product. This could initiate the growth of bacteria on the inside of the bottle. Bacteria require moisture, oxygen and protein in order to stimulate growth. This is also the reason that we always recommend that these products not be refrigerated.
2. Liquids (water-based products) – Seagate makes a number of water-based liquids including Olive Leaf Nasal Spray, Olive Leaf Throat Spray, Earache Remedy, and Liquid Olive Leaf Extract, just to name a few. These products will freeze below 32F.  If the expansion of the ice during freezing did not affect the integrity of the bottle, the product inside will be perfectly good to use upon thawing.
3. Liquids (oil-based products) – Seagate also makes 8 oil-based products including Olive Oil, Smooth Skin, Stop Rash and OliveViate.  The different products have one or more of these natural oils that include olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil of course is a single ingredient produce.  As the temperature falls below 65F, these oils will begin to harden back into fats, and form a waxy appearance. This is actually a good thing because it shows you that the oils are real.  The cold or freezing temperatures will do no harm to the oils.  Just allow these products to return to room temperature before use.
4. Softgels (oil based products within a soft gel capsule) – Seagate produces 3 softgel products: Fish Liver Oil; Shark Liver Oil, and Olive oil. When subjected to very low temperatures, the softgel capsules in the bottles can become a little sticky, and try to temporarily adhere to their neighbor. The oil inside the capsules can become a little cloudy in appearance when the temperature drops below 60F.  Allow these bottles to return to room temperature before opening the bottle cap to avoid any moisture condensing inside the bottle as in example 1. above. Otherwise, the cold will not affect the product.
Seagate’s office and warehouse are located in San Diego, CA. Our factory, farm, and fishing operations are located in and around Ensenada, Baja California Mexico. Most of the people that work in our plant may have seen snow only on television and have never experienced temperature below freezing.  So the concept of a product getting so cold when shipped to northern States that it freezes inside a bottle is difficult for some to imagine.  I have lived, skied and camped everywhere from Maine to Colorado. So temperatures well-below zero where even engine oil gets so cold that it turns into tar have (or actually had) been part of my life. Having experienced that sort of life, I would much prefer being in 80F water face to face with some happy smiling fish and never have to wear a winter coat again.
                                                             Happy fish approaching Richard
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