Shipping and Transport of Biological Materials

  • Facility Support Services
  • Occupational Safety & Risk Management
  • Research Safety & Services
  • The shipping and transport of dangerous goods is a highly regulated activity. Many biological materials fall into the category of “dangerous goods” for shipping purposes. All individuals involved in the transport of dangerous goods or the preparation of dangerous goods for transport must be trained to do so properly and safely. In addition, EH&S requires safe transport of items within facilities and around campus. These topics are covered in the “Shipping and Transport of Biological Materials” training provided by the Biosafety Office. Violations of regulations could result in civil penalties of $250 –$27,500 per violation per day and criminal penalties (willful violations) up to $500,000 and 5 years in jail.

    All individuals involved in the transport of dangerous goods or the preparation of dangerous goods for transport must abide by the International Air Transport / International Civil Aviation and Dept. of Transportation regulations. You must obtain a Shipping and Transport of Biological Materials Training Certificate (online course) from UF EH&S prior to shipping biological materials. The certificate is valid for 2 years.

    To Register, email and provide your First Name, Last Name, and UFID number.

    Biological Material Subject to Shipping & Transport Regulations
    In the context of shipping regulations, “Dangerous Goods” are “Articles or substances which are capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property or the environment & which are shown in the list of dangerous goods in the Regulations or which are classified according to these Regulations.” (49 CFR Parts 100-185 & IATA 1.0).

    Biological Materials Under This Definition
    • Biological toxins
    • Infectious substances
    • Diagnostic specimens
    • Biomedical waste
    • Genetically Modified Organisms
    Other Regulated Biological Material
    • Plants
    • Plant pests
    • Insects
    • Cell cultures
    • Live animals
    Other Regulated Items Accompanying Biological Material Shipment
    • Dry ice
    • Environmental pollutants (formalin)
    • Alcohol
    • Fixative solutions
    Transporting Biological Material Within and Around UF
    • Double contain the items in plastic leak-proof containers within sturdy outer packaging.
    • Include absorbent material within the containers as well as padding to minimize movement of the container(s) within the outer packaging.
    • Wipe the outer container with an appropriate disinfectant before removing it from the laboratory and apply a biohazard sticker if applicable.
    • Put your name and contact information on the package.
    • Limit transport through public or highly-traveled areas and use freight elevators when possible.
    • Individuals transporting biohazardous agents should be knowledgeable about handling spills.
    • UF policy states that dangerous goods are not to be transported in your personal vehicle.This is both a safety and liability issue. Use a state vehicle instead.

    Shipping and Transport of Human Specimens

    Please visit the Human Subjects in Research page.

    UF Research has developed the following resources regarding domestic or foreign shipping and receipt of human tissues:

    Shipping Radioactive Materials

    Contact Radiation Safety at 352-392-7359 or

    Shipping Hazardous Chemicals

    Contact Hazardous Materials Management at 352-392-8400 or