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If you export products you will need heat treated products that comply with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Phytosanitary Standards (ISPM 15) required worldwide.

We were among the first in one area to enroll in the heat treat program and we make sure your pallets meet the prescribed methods for heat treatment so that your product is not detained and arrives without delay.

The threat from the pine wood nematode, an invasive species in Europe is largely responsible for the implementation of phytosanitation regulations (ISPM 15). To mitigate infestation risk presented by the importation of wood, international standards for Wood Packing Materials (WPM) approved by the Interim Commission Phytosanitary Measures of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) have been adopted by 76 countries worldwide (see ISPM 15 Country updates). Click here to see Monthly Heat Treat News from Timber Products Inspection, Ins. – Our Heat Treat auditor.


There are two treatment options, heat treatment or fumigation with methyl bromide. For heat treatment, WPM must be heat treated to achieve a minimum wood core temperate of 56 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 30 minutes. For fumigation, the WPM must be fumigated with methyl bromide in an enclosed area for at least 16 hours at the regulated dosage and then must be aerated to reduce the concentration of fumigant below hazardous exposure levels. Some countries (including United States) will not accept WPM fumigated with methyl bromide, from countries with the pinewood nematode.

After either of these treatments, the WPM must be marked in a visible location on each article, preferably on at least two opposite sides of the article, with a legible and permanent mark, approve by the IPPC, to certify that wood packaging material has been subjected to an approved treatment.

The American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) manages the heat treatment program in the United States. ALSC has accredited several agencies across the country to audit manufacturers of Wood Packaging Material. Kentuckiana Wood Products has a General Audit Service Contract for Inspection of Wood Packaging Materials from Timber Products Inspection INC. In accordance with the contract, inspections of KWP’s facilities and records are performed on monthly bases to ensure ISPM 15 compliance. Click here to see our Certificate of Membership in the accredited Heat Treatment Program.

But what happens if wood packing materials arrive in other countries without heat treatment? If wood packing materials are unmarked, it is considered to be untreated and non-compliant. U.S regulations allow for immediate exportation of non-compliant Wood Packing Materials. It does not allow for fumigation and it does not allow for any alternative disposal methods. Other countries may have other options, but typically non-compliant wood packing materials will be the responsibility of the importers of the merchandise and all expenses related to the movement, inspection, separation, safeguarding, storage, and ultimate disposition of non-compliant Wood Packing Materials are the responsibility of the importers and at their expense. Specific protocol for this process is subject to each country’s discretion.

* Other tidbits you should know or your pallet vendor should know before you export:

  1. Heat treat exemptions:

Wood Packing Materials such as fiber board, plywood, whisky and wine barrels, plywood, OSB, and veneer are exempt from ISPM 15 regulations for Wood Packing Materials (WPM), as are WPM used by US. Department of Defense (DOD) to package non-regulated articles. WPM that is part of any bundle of imported lumber is exempt from the rule. Other WPM used in the transport of bundled lumber (for example, pallets or dunnage) are not exempt and are regulated WPM.

  1. Debarking for heat treatment:

Irrespective of the type of treatment applied, wood packing material MUST be made of debarked wood. For this standard, any number of visually separate and clearly distinct small pieces of bark may remain if they are:

  • Less than 3 cm in width (regardless of the length) or
    • Greater than 3 cm in width, with total surface area of an individual piece of bark less than 50 square cm.

Please understand, presence of excessive bark can be easily detected and subject to quarantine by port inspectors.

  1. The Proper Handling of kits:

For companies building kits ALSC states that “the kit is a WPM product that is intended for a specific use and ISPM 15 marks can be used on it. When shipped the components of the kit shall be banded together, shrink wrapped or similarly packaged to protect the integrity of the disassembled WPM product. When kits are ISPM 15 marked at least two pieces that will be opposite each other and facing outward in the final assembly are required to be marked with the ISPM 15 mark.” It is important to make certain that the ISPM 15 marks are properly located on the components of your kit. Please let us know if you have questions regarding this.

  1. What is the right stamp to put on HT lumber?

As a “basis” rule you CANNOT put the ISPM-15 “tree” symbol on lumber. If it has the “tree” it is wrong! If a company is producing heat treat lumber or remanufacturing it (such as cutting it to length and restamping it) you cannot put the ISPM-15 stamp on that lumber. That lumber is going to be used to build a crate or pallet by someone who is supposed to have their own ISPM-15 unit stamp. You place the domestic mill HT stamp on that piece of lumber which DOES NOT HAVE the ISPM-15 symbol. The end user builds his unit and used his own ISPM-15 stamp.

Is there an exception to this “basic” rule? Yes!

If you have an agreement between buyer and seller to produce dunnage material for blocking or stabilizing in containers you may apply the ISPM-15 DUN mark to that piece of lumber for that specific purpose. That DUN stamped material CANNOT be built into a crate or pallet. Those who are regularly buying and selling dunnage material generally know precisely how the material is going to be used.

So the “basis” rule is – NO ISPM-15 marking on heat treated lumber.

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