What is ISPM-15?

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15) is one of the many guidelines adopted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and it specifically regulates wood packaging used in international trade. It was ratified by the IPPC in 2002.

Who is the IPPC?

The IPPC (https://www.ippc.int/IPP/En/default.jsp) is an organization currently comprised of 177 international countries that agreed in 1952 to work together to stem the spread of pests in cultivated and wild plants.

Who is ALSC?

American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) has been charged by APHIS with administering the ISPM-15 regulations within the U.S., and it issues the accreditation to the inspecting agencies. It monitors compliance with spot inspections at registered heat treat (HT) facilities and audits the inspecting agencies.

What is wood packaging?

Wood packaging material (WPM), which can also be referred to as non-manufactured packaging (NMWP), includes pallets, crates, boxes, reels, drums, dunnage (bracing) and more. It encompasses any hardwood or softwood packaging that is not wholly made of manufactured wood that is created using any combination of glue, heat and pressure (e.g., plywood, particle board, OSB, veneer).

What is the standard established by ISPM-15?

All WPM or its components must be heated to a core temperature of 56° Celsius (133° F) for 30 consecutive minutes. This is achieved in any enclosed kiln or chamber, and the wood is monitored with probes inserted into the thickest dimensional component. Time/temperature equivalency schedules are available for use in kilns that utilize dry bulb/wet bulb readings.

WPM may be treated in final form (pallet, crate, skid, etc.), or it may be assembled out of HT lumber. All lumber used in the assembly of export WPM must be marked with an ALSC officially recognized grade mark (http://www.alsc.org/greenbook%20collection/LumberProgram_facsimile.pdf),and the quality mark will then be applied to the completed WPM.

Material marked “KD” does not automatically constitute heat treat compliant. The KD designation refers to wood that has been kiln dried to 19 percent moisture content. The mark must also contain the “HT” designation to be compliant with ISPM-15 standards.

What about pesticides?

The use of methyl bromide is an accepted means to ensure compliance with ISPM-15 for shipment of WPM. The National Wood Pallet and Container Association (http://www.palletcentral.com/) administers the application of this program.

What is the quality mark?

The program has established an internationally recognized mark to be applied to all complying WPM. This quality mark is comprised of the two letter ISO country code, the certifying agency logo, the facility identification (typically a number), the IPPC symbol, and the letters HT (heat treat) or MB (methyl bromide). There may also be a DUN or DUNNAGE designation for included in the mark to identify dunnage material.

The quality (or dunnage) marks may only be obtained through an accredited inspection agency.

What is a dunnage mark?

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How is a kit defined and how is it certified?

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What about repaired, recycled or remanufactured WPM?

There is no expiration date for the quality mark on complying WPM. However, any WPM that is recycled or remanufactured loses its HT designation. The WPM must be retreated, the initial quality mark obliterated, and a new quality mark must be applied.

Repairing WPM constitutes replacing less than one third of the original wood packaging. Anything more than a third is considered remanufactured and must be retreated. For repair, each board used to replace a damaged piece must be verified as HT wood through the identification of a recognized grade mark or a chamber treatment chart.

Are there other requirements to be compliant?

Each facility is required to maintain records of its HT activity for a two year period. This includes tracking the amount of material treated, purchased and/or sold in board feet (bf). The facility will also be required to maintain copies of purchase orders and bills of lading to its customers. Kiln charts are also required to be retained for two years.

Facilities must be inspected monthly by an accredited agency. Inspection fees will be assessed each month and vary by agency. A re-inspection may be required to address non-compliant issues.

What are the bark restrictions for ISPM-15?

WPM must be made from debarked wood. There are two allowable limits to the amount of bark present. Separate pieces of bark may be present if they are a) less than 3 cm (1 3/16 inches) in width, regardless of length; or b) when greater than 3 cm in width, the total surface area must be less than 50 cm² (7 ¾ square inches).

Bark encased knots are exempt; however, should a bark pocket be visible and exceed 50 cm², it would be deemed an excessive amount of bark outside of the allowable limits. Interior bark is treated the same as exterior bark for measurable limits.

Bark may be removed after the heat treatment process.

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