§ 26.129 Assuring specimen security, chain of custody, and preservation.

(a) Each licensee testing facility must be secure at all times. Each licensee or other entity shall have sufficient security measures in place to control access to the licensee testing facility and to ensure that no unauthorized personnel handle specimens or gain access to the licensee testing facility's processes or areas where records are stored. Access to these secured areas must be limited to specifically authorized individuals whose authorization is documented. All authorized visitors and maintenance and service personnel shall be escorted at all times while in the licensee testing facility.

(b) When specimens are received, licensee testing facility personnel shall inspect each package for evidence of possible tampering and shall compare information on the specimen containers within each package to the information on the accompanying Federal CCFs. Licensee testing facility personnel shall attempt to resolve any discrepancies identified in the information on specimen bottles or on the accompanying Federal CCFs. When resolving any discrepancies, licensee testing facility personnel shall obtain a memorandum for the record from the specimen collector involved in the discrepancy to document correction of the discrepancy. This memorandum must accompany the specimen(s) and Federal CCFs to the HHS-certified laboratory if the specimen(s) must be transferred.

(1) Indications of tampering with specimens in transit from the collection site, or at a licensee testing facility, must be reported to senior licensee or other entity management as soon as practical and no later than 8 hours after the indications are identified. In response to a report, licensee or other entity management personnel shall initiate an investigation to determine whether tampering has occurred.

(i) If the investigation determines that tampering has occurred, licensee or other entity management shall ensure that corrective actions are taken.

(ii) If there is reason to believe that the integrity or identity of a specimen is in question (as a result of tampering or discrepancies between the information on the specimen bottle and on the accompanying Federal CCFs that cannot be resolved), the licensee testing facility shall reject the specimen for testing. The licensee or other entity shall ensure that another collection occurs as soon as reasonably practical, except if a split specimen collection was performed, either the Bottle A or Bottle B seal remains intact, and the intact specimen contains at least 15 mL of urine. In this instance, the licensee testing facility shall forward the intact specimen for testing to the HHS-certified laboratory and may not conduct any testing at the licensee testing facility.

(2) The following are exclusive grounds requiring the MRO to cancel the testing of a donor's urine specimen and report a cancelled test result to the licensee or other entity:

(i) The Federal CCF does not contain information to identify the specimen collector and the collection site cannot provide conclusive evidence of the collector's identity;

(ii) The identification numbers on the specimen bottle seal(s) do not match the identification numbers on the Federal CCF;

(iii) A specimen bottle seal is broken or shows evidence of tampering and an intact specimen, as specified in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, does not exist;

(iv) The specimen appears to have leaked out of its sealed bottle and there is less than 15 mL remaining, and an intact specimen, as specified in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, does not exist; or

(v) As required under § 26.165(f)(2).

(c) The licensee testing facility shall retain specimen containers within the testing facility's accession area until all analyses have been completed. Testing facility personnel shall use aliquots of the specimen and licensee testing facility chain of custody forms, or other appropriate methods of tracking aliquot custody and control, when conducting validity screening and initial validity and drug tests. The original specimen bottles and the original Federal CCFs must remain in secure storage. Licensee testing facility personnel may discard specimens and aliquots as soon as practical after validity screening or initial validity tests have demonstrated that the specimen appears valid and initial test results for drugs and drug metabolites are negative.

(d) The licensee testing facility's procedure for tracking custody and control of specimens and aliquots must protect the identity of the donor, and provide documentation of the testing process and transfers of custody of the specimen and aliquots. Each time a specimen or aliquot is handled or transferred within the licensee testing facility, testing facility personnel shall document the date and purpose and every individual in the chain of custody must be identified.

(e) Urine specimens identified as positive or of questionable validity at a licensee testing facility must be shipped to an HHS-certified laboratory for testing as soon as reasonably practical.

(f) Licensee testing facility personnel shall take appropriate and prudent actions to minimize false negative results from specimen degradation. If validity screening or initial validity testing indicate that the specimen is of questionable validity, or initial drug test results are positive, or if a specimen has not been tested within 24 hours of receipt at the licensee testing facility, then the facility shall maintain the specimen cooled to not more than 6 °C (42.8 °F) until it is forwarded to the HHS-certified laboratory for further testing, if required. Split specimens in Bottle B that are associated with positive specimens or specimens of questionable validity in Bottle A must also be maintained cooled (as previously specified) until test results from the HHS-certified laboratory are known to be negative for Bottle A; until the MRO informs the licensee testing facility that Bottle B must be forwarded to an HHS-certified laboratory for testing; or until the specimen is moved to long-term, frozen storage, under § 26.135(c).

(g) Licensee testing facility personnel shall ensure that the original Federal CCF is packaged with its associated urine specimen bottle. Sealed and labeled specimen bottles, with their associated Federal CCFs, being transferred from the licensee testing facility to the HHS-certified laboratory must be placed in a second, tamper-evident shipping container designed to minimize the possibility of damage to the specimen during shipment (e.g., specimen boxes, padded mailers, or bulk insulated shipping containers with that capability) so that the contents of the shipping containers are no longer accessible without breaking a tamper-evident seal.

(h) Couriers, express carriers, and postal service personnel do not have direct access to the Federal CCFs or the specimen bottles. Therefore, such personnel are not required to document chain of custody on the Federal CCFs during transit. Custody accountability of the shipping containers during shipment must be maintained by a tracking system provided by the courier, express carrier, or postal service.

[73 FR 17203 Mar. 31, 2008; 87 FR 71459, Nov. 22, 2022]

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, December 22, 2022