Biosafety Tips and Tricks - Soil Research Safety

May 5, 2023

Soil research safety

Do you work with soil?  If you do, are you aware that it may be regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service?

Permits are required for soil transport and research when it comes from specific regions or counties. Even if you believe you are receiving the samples from a non-regulated county, best practices would be to check the website or call an official to ensure that quarantine areas have not changed.  

USDA APHIS Soil Regulations and Permits

Regulated Organism and Soil Permits (

APHIS also requires a 526 permit for the importation and interstate movement of soil or other potentially infected host material for the purpose of isolating or culturing microorganisms from those materials. Those materials may include but are not necessarily restricted to; plant material, insects/arthropods, environmental samples such as water, dust, sediments, etc. If the organism is imported on/in host material, no separate permit is required for the host material if the host material is not intended for propagation.

From what locations is soil regulated?

  • All foreign sources, Hawaii, and all US territories
  • Parts of US States under federal quarantine as authorized under 7CFR 301 regulations and quarantines.

For more information on which domestic soils are regulated, contact the local Plant Protection and Quarantine office or Permit Services in Riverdale, Maryland at (301) 734-8645; fax (301) 734-5786, or the State Plant Regulatory Officials of destination state.

State Plant Health Director

Craig Kellogg
11200 Metro Airport Center Dr., Suite 140
Romulus, MI 48174
Phone: (734) 942-9005
FAX: (734) 942-7691

Office Manager


Associate Executive Director

Clint Burfitt: (503) 820-2746

Access Title 7 of CFR, Part 330.300 at:

What locations are not regulated?

1) Most parts of Canada, however, soil is regulated from, (a) Alberta: a farm unit and associated land located near the municipality of Fort Saskatchewan, (b) a farm unit and associated land located near the municipality of Spruce Grove and British Columbia, (c) that portion of the Municipality of Central Saanich on Vancouver Island, east of the West Saanich Road, Newfoundland and Labrador, (d) the entire island of Newfoundland and Quebec, (e) the municipality of Saint-Amable. (Title 7CFR, Part 330.300). The applicant must look for any current Federal Orders pertaining to regulated areas not yet updated in 7CFR 301. 2) Non-quarantined parts of the continental U.S.

Map of Quarantined Counties

Dated November 23, 2022

 Drawing of the United States with some counties in some states drawn in and some counties shaded in colors to depict their soil regulations.