MadgeTech, Inc.

Wood Pallet Sterilization a Requirement for International Shipments

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Courtesy of MadgeTech, Inc.

Wooden pallets are commonly used to ship products, providing an easy solution for loading and unloading shipments both domestically and internationally. However, when it comes to international shipments, wooden pallets must be sterilization to prevent the spread of wood-borne insects and diseases. This requirement is strictly enforced by the International Standards for Phytosanitary (ISPM 15), originated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The main method of compliance is the use of heat treatment. ISPM-15 regulations require all wood packaging materials with a thickness greater than 3 cm be heated to a minimum temperature of 56 °C (133 °F) for a minimum duration of 30 continuous minutes throughout the entire profile of the wood, including at its core. If sterilization is properly carried out can destroy ten types of insects and two types of diseases.

Note that chemically treating wooden packing using Methyl Bromide fumigation still appears to be an acceptable form of treatment but has been banned in Europe since 2010 due to its harmful impact on the environment and cargo.

Treated wooden packaging will display the International Plant Protect mark of compliance, also known as the “wheat stamp”. Failure to heat treat wooden packaging can lead to a world of troubles that could result in quarantine delays of freight, or worse, the destruction of the cargo.

To ensure temperatures are being monitored and recorded during each treatment, ISPM-15 advices the use of temperature data loggers. The reports generate from the data will be necessary for recordkeeping and required during audits.

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