top of page
Sample Fedex Airbill With Instructions:
Unilab Sample Fedex Airbill With Instructions:

Shipping Labels

When shipping biological specimens there are mandatory labels that must appear on the outer packaging according to DOT and IATA regulations. A reference guide for the types of labels used when shipping biological specimens is provided.

Multiple Patient Specimen Shipping

In some cases there are tests or panels that are ordered in high volume which can result in specimens from 2 or more patients needing to be shipped on the same day. This can be done easily as long as packing instructions are followed explicitly. There are two steps that are critical to this process: 1. Each tube must clearly, legibly and accurately labeled. 2. Each patient’s specimen MUST be placed in a separate biohazard bag along with its corresponding requisition form.

Holiday Shipping

Holiday Shipping – please be aware of the following holidays when planning on shipping specimens as FedEx will be closed: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Deliveries will not be made on these days so please do not the ship the day prior as we will not receive these the next day, which may compromise specimen stability. We will attempt to put reminders on our website and send them out via email, or fax.

Category B Biological Specimen Shipping Guidelines


Biological Substances, Category B is defined as an infectious substance that is not in a form generally capable of causing permanent disability or life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals when exposure to it occurs. This includes Category B infectious substances transported for diagnostic or investigational purposes. A specimen which meets the definition of a Category B Biological Substance but is known to originate from a patient with an infectious disease should still be transported as a Category B Biological Substance specimen.

It is the shipper’s responsibility to make sure that all specimens are packaged and shipped properly. Please make sure to follow the guidelines below when shipping to ensure specimen integrity. Following these guidelines will also help to receive specimens and process them in a timely manner. Please contact us if you have any questions .

The requirements for shipping specimens in this category must adhere to the regulations detailed by the DOT and IATA triple packaging requirements. Category B packaging requires a marking (or label) as indicated below in accordance with IATA Packing Instruction 650 requirements:


This marking or label must be visibly affixed to the outer packaging by the shipper. Other requirements for Category B Specimens found in IATA Packing Instruction 650 include:

  • Leak-proof primary receptacle(s)*

  • Leak-proof secondary packaging*

  • *either the primary or secondary receptacle must be capable of passing the 95kPa internal pressure test.

  • Absorbent of sufficient quantity to absorb the entire contents of the primary receptacle(s) must be placed between the primary and secondary packaging.

  • Rigid outer packaging (a box) with at least one surface having a minimum dimension of 100mm x 100mm

  • All packages must pass a drop test as outlined in the IATA requirements.


Refrigerated Shipping

Specimens required to be kept at temperatures between 2⁰C and 8⁰C must be shipped in a refrigerated environment. This requires the use of two cold packs that have been frozen overnight (preferably 24 hours). Place the tubes in the appropriate holder, wrapped in cushioning material (typically bubble wrap) and then placed in a biohazard bag with the requisition form. Place one of the cold packs in the bottom of the box, then place the completely packaged specimen on top of that cold pack. Finally, place the other cold pack on top of the specimen to create a sandwich.

Frozen Shipping

1. Put a half of the dry ice on the bottom of the cooler.

NOTE: 5 lbs of dry ice will last approximately 24 hours. One solid piece lasts longer than several smaller pieces. Federal Express shipments should contain at least 5 lbs of dry ice.

2. Place specimen bag containing the specimens and requisition on top of dry ice.

3. Place the remainder of the dry ice on top of the specimen bag.

4. Fill excess space with paper towels or newspaper on top of the dry ice to serve as insulation, if needed. Place the List of Contents card on top of everything else before putting the lid on top of the Styrofoam cooler.

5. Close the lid of the cooler and tape with clear shipping tape around 3 sides of the cooler. Leave the fourth side unsealed to allow dry ice gases (carbon dioxide) to escape.

6. Place the cooler in an appropriate shipping box, making sure to leave one side unsealed for dry ice gases to escape out of the shipping box.

*Mark the net weight of the dry ice on the “Dry Ice” label and affix it to the outside of the package near the shipping label.

FDA Donor Screen: Shipping Guidelines

bottom of page