If you’re importing or exporting product on wooden pallets, you need to know if you need to meet the requirements of ISPM 15 Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade.
Before we get into what the requirements are, let’s just go over what the purpose of them is.
The ISPM 15 Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade, is a Standard that is recognised around the world.
The Standard is written by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Protection Convention and it was last published in 2019.
ISPM 15 is a phytosanitary Standard. Phytosanitary are controls for plant health and ISPM 15 is specifically designed to stop the spread of pests that would have a negative impact on forests and biodiversity.
To find out whether the country you are exporting to, requires compliance to ISPM 15; check the ISPM 15 Global Exporters Guide. You’ll notice UK is not on the list, but if you’re importing into the UK you do have to follow the requirements as detailed on Wood packaging goods for import and export.
If you need to comply with ISPM 15 and you don’t then your product is at risk of rejection or even disposal.
If you do need to comply, here’s what it means.
ISPM 15 requirements
These rules apply to all forms of wood packaging of more than 6mm in thickness and it means that the wood has to be treated. The treatment is a combination of debarking the wood and either applying heat or chemicals, which will remove or kill any pests present in the wood.
ISPM15 provide a set of approved treatments, each of which have a code which has to be applied to the packaging, so that it can visually identified as compliant. These are:
- Conventional steam or dry kiln heat chamber; code ‘HT’
- Dielectric heating; code ‘DH’
- Methyl bromide treatment; code ‘MB’
- Sulphuryl fluoride treatment; code ‘SF’
Applying the coding
The wood must be coded so that it’s:
- Doesn’t rub off or transfer onto other surfaces
- Placed where it can be seen, on at least two sides
The coding must include the:
- Symbol shown
- 2-digit ISO 3166 country code
- Code of the company that treated the wood
- Treatment code
The coding must be displayed like one of the examples below (click each image to see a larger version).
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