Specimen Packaging

The following information shall serve as a guide for collection and referral of patient specimens to our lab.  We ask our clients to adhere to these policies to ensure specimen integrity. 

Specimen Processing, Storage and Packaging

Process the specimen according to the Test Directory requirements. Store the specimen at the appropriate temperature until transported to the lab. 

Air Carriers

All blood and body fluid specimens are potentially infectious and must be handled accordingly. All referral testing sent via air carriers must comply with the guidelines of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  Any potentially infectious agents that are sent via air carriers must be shipped in a DOT approved container.  Shipments must be packaged and shipped according to these guidelines.  Some of the general guidelines are listed below.  Please contact Laboratory Services for additional packing and shipping information.

  • Primary container must be leak proof, and should be packed into the secondary container so that is cannot be broken or punctured and leak into the secondary container.
  • Absorbent material sufficient to absorb the entire contents of the primary container must be placed between the primary and secondary container. 
  • Either the primary or secondary container must be capable of withstanding without leaking an internal pressure of 95 kPa.  
  • The outside packaging must be constructed of corrugated fiberboard, wood, metal or plastic.  The outside packaging must be able to pass a drop test of 1.2 meters.  
  • Packages must be marked: “Diagnostic Specimen” & UN3373 label.   

Ground Carriers

All blood and body fluid specimens are potentially infectious and must be handled accordingly. All referral testing sent must comply with the guidelines of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).  Packaging guidelines are listed below.

  • Primary container must be leak proof, and should be packed into the secondary container so that is cannot be broken or punctured and leak into the secondary container.
  • Absorbent material sufficient to absorb the entire contents of the primary container must be placed between the primary and secondary container. 
  • Each different sample type (blood, urine, stool, etc.) should be packaged in its own secondary container, to prevent contamination.  Like sample types could be packaged together.
  • Samples should be packaged in the secondary leak proof biohazard bag.

Test Requisitions accompanying patient samples should be folded in half and placed in the outside pocket of the secondary transport bag so that the barcode label used for tracking is visible. The requisition should not be placed inside the bag with the samples.  

Some tests may require temperature control during transport to ensure specimen integrity.  Refer to the General Test Listing for packaging requirements.  Further questions or transport supplies should be directed to (800) 934-6575.  

Specimens may be UNACCEPTABLE if:

  • Specimens are improperly packaged (ie spills, leaks)
  • Specimens exceed temperature specifications for transportation