Transporting samples to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory

Guidelines for transporting animal or plant samples to BSL for testing are outlined below. Before submitting samples to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory (BSL), ensure you have reviewed all sample submission information, including the Veterinary laboratory users guide and our Specimen receipt policy (PDF, 45KB).

Transport costs

The submitter is responsible for the cost of transporting specimens to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory. (Also see transport options below).

Before sending samples

Before you transport and submit the samples:

  1. Review which transport option will suit your needs best (see information below).
  2. Register an account with a courier company if you're planning to use this method of transport, as this process may take several days.
  3. Download a copy of the Veterinary laboratory users guide for advice on submitting samples or email to request a hard copy.
  4. Complete a specimen advice sheet: Form A (PDF, 80KB) to accompany the samples.
  5. If your samples are urgent, call the laboratory in advance on (07) 3708 8762.
  6. Do not send samples to arrive at the laboratory on the weekend or public holidays, unless you have arranged this with the laboratory in advance.
  7. For details on the requirements for packaging and transport of biological specimens refer to the information below and the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care's requirements for the packaging and transport of pathology specimens and associated materials.

Classification of infectious substances

The classification of infectious substances helps to ensure their safe packaging and transport. The categories below can help you to determine how to transport the sample you want to send for testing.

Category A

Category A includes infectious substances that are transported in a form that, if exposure to it occurs, is capable of causing permanent disability, or life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals.

Category B

Category B includes infectious substances that do not meet the Category A criteria. Infectious substances in Category B must be assigned to UN 3373. The proper shipping name of UN 3373 is 'Biological substance Category B'.

Exempt (for air transport) or Category C (for surface transport)

Specimens where there is minimal likelihood that pathogens are present (e.g. samples for biochemical or antibody tests or fixed tissues) are not subject to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regulations if the specimen is:

  • transported in triple packaging that prevents any leakage
  • marked with the words 'Exempt animal specimen'.

Examples of exempt or Category C specimens are:

  • tissue specimens fixed in formalin
  • fixed cytology smears
  • specimens of blood or urine to be tested for: antibodies, cholesterol, glucose, hormones, tumour markers, kidney or liver function, therapeutic drugs, non-therapeutic drugs and alcohol (the latter may have 'chain of custody documents').

Determining whether a specimen has a minimal likelihood of pathogens being present requires an element of professional judgement. This judgement should be based on:

  • medical history
  • symptoms
  • individual circumstances of the source
  • endemic local conditions.

Transport options for sending samples for testing

Transport options for submitting samples to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory at Coopers Plains include but are not limited to:

  • Toll Priority (courier)
  • StarTrack (courier)
  • Fastway (courier)
  • Australia Post (post).

Queensland Government rates for sample transport are available for frequent submitters (6 or more submissions per year) through StarTrack. Contact the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory at Coopers Plains for further information.

Packaging and special requirements

Before sending samples with a courier company, refer to the specific requirements of the courier company and also the requirements for the packaging and transport of pathology specimens and associated materials.

If you're sending samples through Australia Post, refer to the dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging guide. Biological Substances, Category B sent through Australian Post must be lodged at an Australian Post Office and sent by a qualified veterinary surgeon.

Watch a video with more information on packaging samples for testing.

Delivery times to Coopers Plains

Toll Priority usually delivers overnight to Coopers Plains.

Delivery times with other courier companies and Australia Post depend on the location of sender.

Delivery address

Specimen Receipt (Loading Dock 12)
Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory
Health and Food Science Precinct
39 Kessels Road

Phone: (07) 3708 8762 (submission enquiries)
Fax: (07) 3708 8860

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