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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Packaging and Shipping Infectious Materials. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Selecting the Shipping Container

Manufactured packaging

Follow the manufacturer's instructions if you are using manufactured packaging. The components of the packaging system that are provided by the manufacturer are designed to be used together to ensure a safe transport. Therefore, packaging components from different manufacturers should not be used together. The instructions provided by the manufacturer must be retained for at least one year.

Outer packaging that is used to ship Category A substances must meet manufacturing and performance specifications set by the United Nations. Packaging that meets these specifications are marked by a "UN" in a circle, a series of letters and numbers that indicate the type of package, class of goods the package is designed to carry, manufacturing date, authorizing agency, and the manufacturer. An example is shown below. This packaging is available from commercial sources with preprinted UN information. The strict, outer packaging regulations do not apply to Category B packages.

Reusing a container

If you will be reusing a container, remove all irrelevant labels and markings. A package can be reused if it is intact, clean, and disinfected. A package CANNOT be reused if it is damaged, contaminated, or cannot be labeled properly.