Properly Completing Your Chain of Custody

A chain of custody is an important legal document that testifies to a sample's validity. Properly filled out chain of custodies should include: sample ID, location of source, date and time collected, date and time received at the lab, sample preservation, analysis required, name of collector, pertinent field data, names of those who had custody of the sample, and reporting/billing contacts.

Incomplete chain of custodies can result in delayed reporting, incorrect or incomplete analyses, and invalidation of samples and results. The chain of custody is a necessary element to assure one's ability to support data in a legal or regulatory situation.

For tips and hints on properly completing your chain of custody, see our Example COC. You can use the Alloway COC PDF Form to complete your own chain of custody and save it to your desktop.