Packaging Samples for Shipment
These pages offer useful information about the proper collection and safe shipping of biologicals, infectious substances or diagnostic specimens. The contents are to be used as a guide to assist properly trained shippers. The information provided does not meet the training requirements as required in the Department of Transportation 49 C.F.R. (§172.700 – 172.704). The shipper assumes total responsibility for complying with all applicable laws and regulations regarding the shipment of dangerous goods.
There are four steps to safely packaging a sample for shipping to Biostone Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories (BVDL): classify your sample, package your sample, mark or label the package, and document your shipment.
Step 1. Classify Your Sample
- Exempt animal specimen: Specimen collected directly from animals for research, diagnosis, disease treatment and prevention which there is a minimal likelihood that pathogens are present. Examples include: surveillance serology, export or movement testing, and vaccine titer.
- Category B infectious substance: An infectious substance that is transported in a form that, when exposure to it occurs, is NOT capable of causing permanent disability, life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals. Biostone Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories (BVDL) recommends all suspect infectious disease shipments be classified and shipped as a Biological Substance Category B.
Step 2. Package Your Sample
Packaging Exempt Animal Specimens
Exempt animal specimens are not subject to regulation as hazardous materials but when presented for mailing must be triple-packaged in leakproof (for liquids) or siftproof (for solids) primary receptacles. Sufficient cushioning and absorbent materials must surround each primary receptacle containing liquid. Secondary containers for liquids must be leakproof. Secondary containers for solids must be siftproof. The primary and secondary packaging must be enclosed in a rigid outer shipping container. The secondary container cannot serve as the outer shipping container. The secondary container must be securely and snugly enclosed in a fiberboard box or container of equivalent strength that serves as the outer shipping container. A shipping paper is not required. The outer shipping container must be marked on the address side with the words “Exempt animal specimen,” as appropriate. In addition, at least one surface of the outer packaging must have a minimum dimension of 3.9 inches x 3.9 inches (100 mm x 100 mm). Cold packs, if needed, may be placed around the secondary packaging. Here is an example for animal blood/serum/plasma shipments:
- Collect samples in plastic or glass blood collection tubes
- Wrap each sample tube in absorbent material (such as paper towel)
DO NOT TAPE
- Place all absorbent wrapped tubes in heavy duty zip lock bag.
- Place Freezer pack and first Zip Lock bag in second Zip Lock bag
- Place in shipping box with sufficient packing material (newspaper or similar) to pad and prevent shifting/shaking during shipping.
Packaging Category B Infectious Substance
A material that is classified as a Category B infectious substance must be triple-packaged. Each primary receptacle containing a liquid must be leakproof and surrounded by absorbent material sufficient to protect the primary receptacle and absorb the total amount of liquid should the primary receptacle leak or break. Each primary receptacle containing a solid must be sift proof. Secondary containers for liquids must be leakproof. Secondary containers for solids must be sift proof. The primary and secondary packaging must be enclosed in a rigid outer shipping container. All mail pieces must be marked on the address side with the shipping name “Biological substance, Category B” and “UN 3373”. In addition, at least one surface of the outer packaging must have a minimum dimension of 3.9 inches x 3.9 inches (100 mm x 100 mm). Cold packs, if needed, may be placed around the secondary packaging.
Step 3. Mark or Label Your Package
The outer packaging must have the following information:
- The name, address and telephone number of a responsible person on the waybill or on the package.
- The shipper’s and consignee’s addresses.
- For “Biological Substance, Category B”, this label must be present in letters at least 6 mm high and must be marked on the outer package adjacent to a diamond-shaped UN3373 label.
- For “Exempt Animal Specimen”, this label must be present on the outer package in letters at least 6 mm high. NOTE: this classification still requires proper packaging (see Step 2 above).
Step 4. Document Your Shipment
- A Shipper’s Declaration is NOT required.
- Air Waybill — If applicable, the text “Biological Substance, Category B” and “UN 3373” should be documented on the waybill.
- Fill the sample submission form.
- The USDA/APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) regulates transport of materials that could potentially harm U.S. agricultural products including livestock, poultry and crops. USDA/ APHIS permits are required for imports/ exports and inter-state transport of specimens reasonably believed to contain animal or plant pathogens. An Import/Transport permit must be obtained by the intended receiver of the material before shipment is made. Please contact Biostone Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories (BVDL) if needed for the permits. To determine if the material you wish to transport requires a permit, visit the APHIS: National Center for Import and Export (NCIE) Website at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/index.shtml
Biostone Animal Health
2815 Exchange Blvd. Suite 400
Southlake, TX 76092 Tel: 817-329-0500; firstname.lastname@example.org
Biostone Animal Health
2815 Exchange Blvd. Suite 400
Southlake, TX 76092
Dr. Joe Ables, DVM
499 CR 3198
Decatur, TX 76234