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Packaging instructions

Samples sent to GD have to comply with the following requirements. The packaging has to be of good quality, meaning strong enough to withstand the shocks and loads encountered during transport, including trans-shipment between transport units and between transport units and warehouses as well as any removal from a pallet or over-pack for subsequent manual or mechanical handling. Packaging must be constructed and sealed so as to prevent any loss of contents that could be caused under normal conditions of transport by vibration or by changes in temperature, humidity or pressure. The packaging must consist of the following three components:

  1. a primary receptacle
  2. a secondary packaging
  3. a rigid outer packaging

Primary receptacles must be packed in secondary packaging in such way that, under normal conditions of transport, they cannot break, be punctured or leak their contents into the secondary packaging. Secondary packaging must be secured in outer packaging with suitable cushioning material. Any leakage of the contents must not compromise the integrity of the cushioning material or the outer packaging.



  • At least one surface of the outer packaging must have a minimum dimension of 100 mm x 100 mm.
  • For transport, the mark illustrated below must be displayed on the external surface of the outer packaging on a background of a contrasting colour and must be clearly visible and legible.

Specific requirements

  • Refrigerated or frozen specimens: ice, dry ice and liquid nitrogen
    When dry ice or liquid nitrogen is used to keep specimens cold, all applicable requirements above must be met. When used, ice or dry ice must be placed outside the secondary packaging or in the outer packaging or an over-pack. Interior support must be provided to secure the secondary packaging in the original position after the ice or dry ice has dissipated. If ice is used, the outside packaging or over pack must be leak-proof. If carbon dioxide, solid (dry ice) is used, the packaging must be designed and constructed to permit the release of carbon dioxide gas to prevent a build-up of pressure that could rupture the packaging.
    The primary receptacle and the secondary packaging must maintain their integrity at the temperature of the refrigerant used as well as at the temperatures and the pressures which could result if refrigeration were lost.
  • Infectious substances
    Infectious substances assigned to UN 3373, which are packed and marked in accordance with this packing instruction, are not subject to any other requirement of the regulations except for the following: the name, address and telephone number of a responsible person must be provided on the air waybill or on the package.
  • Passengers and crew members
    Passengers and crew members are prohibited from transporting infectious substances either as or in carry-on baggage or checked baggage or on their person.
  • Airfreight shipments
    Airfreight shipments may be subject to different IATA requirements for packing materials such as seal-bags. If you are using your own packing material, then please ask the carrier if the materials are suitable for airfreight shipment. 

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