Eidgenössische Ethikkommission für die Biotechnologie im Ausserhumanbereich EKAH

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Transport, import and export of substances consisting of or containing pathogenic or genetically modified (micro)organisms

Practical explanation on how to transport biological substances according to the specific dangerous goods transport regulations to, between and from contained systems (including field trials). The focus is mainly on the transport by road and partially by air, using public ground.

Detailed information is given on the assignment of the biological substance to a transport category, UN numbers, packaging, UN labeling and marking, import/export permits, transport documentation and carriers.

  • Definitions of biological substances covered by the specific transport regulations (human-, animal and plant-pathogens, genetically modified microorganisms, genetically modified animals, genetically modified plants, patient specimens, cell cultures and tissues, waste).
  • Biological substances which are exempt from the specific transport regulations.
  • Decision tree to assign a biological substance to a transport category according to the specific transport regulations and to define the relevant transport sheet.
  • Transport sheets for the various types of biological substances.
  • Biological substances not to be transported: Biological substances which are considered to pose an unnecessary risk to people or the environment (recommendation of the SECB).
  • The transport sheets do not cover the transport of biological substances within facilities (see requirements for a biosafety concept according to the contained use ordinance) nor the transport of biological substances for the placing on the market (see instructions provided with the permit from the competent authority according to the deliberate release ordinance).
  • In case biological substances have to be transported over very limited public ground, like crossing a street, an application for an exemption from the specific transport requirements can be filed with the Federal Roads Officeextern_icon (Beat Schmid).


The contents of the documentation on transport of substances containing or consisting of pathogenic and genetically modified (micro)organisms has been produced with great care. The information is of general type and is not legally binding. It is based on, but does not replace regulatory documents or directions given by the authorities.

Due to changes in regulatory requirements or as a result of technical problems, the information on this site might be delayed or might show gaps in content and precision. Therefore, SECB and associated contractors and employees do not take liability of the correctness, timeliness and completeness of the documentation and disclaim any liability for damages of any type resulting from the use of this information.

Last updated on: 22.06.2015

Swiss Expert Committee for Biosafety SECB
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