Shipment of Biological Materials

For the purposes of shipping, biological materials may be classified as infectious substances, exempt human/animal patient specimens, biological products, or genetically modified organisms.  

Non-Regulated Materials     

  • Material that does not contain infectious substances
  • Microorganisms which are non-pathogenic to humans and/or animals
  • Environmental sample that is not considered to pose a significant health risk
  • Dried blood spot/fecal occult blood test
  • Pathogens that have been neutralized/inactivated

 Exempt Animal or Human Specimens   

  •   Patient specimens for which there is minimal likelihood that pathogens are present

 Infectious to Humans or Animals

  • Substances which are known or are reasonably expected to contain pathogens

 Genetically Modified Organisms (and micro-organisms)

  • Organisms in which genetic material has been purposely altered through genetic engineering in a way that does not occur naturally

 Other Related Biological Materials Shipping Tools

 Do I Need a Permit?

Biological materials may also require permits in addition to the IATA and DOT regulations for shipping and receiving. Biological materials permits are intended to ensure that these materials that may bear an infectious disease or environmental impact risk are not inadvertently released. Additionally, permits minimize the potential for clandestine or inappropriate use of such materials.

A Guide to Biological Materials Permits

Biological Materials IATA Category Classification Flow Chart

UTMB Biological Materials Shipping Guide

Regulations & Definitions