Tuesday, May 15, 2012 by Kathy Means
Wood pallet marking enforcement on the uptick
We’ve been hearing that some shipments into the United States are being stopped as the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) enforcement of the rules about wood pallets is being stepped up. As you know, the United States implemented new rules in late 2005 to mitigate plant pest risk presented by the importation of logs, lumber, or other unmanufactured wood articles; this includes pallets.
As of September 16, 2005, the standards call for wood packaging material (WPM) imported into the United States to be either:
- heat-treated to a minimum wood core temperature of 56 degrees C/133 degrees F for a minimum of 30 minutes; or
- fumigated with methyl bromide.
The wood packaging material must also be marked with the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) logo and the two letter ISO code for the country that treated the material. The marking must include the unique number assigned by the national plant protection organization to the company responsible for ensuring the material was properly treated, as well as include either the abbreviations for heat treatment (HT) or methyl bromide (MB). Paper certification/treatment certificates is not required.
APHIS said that it had begun full enforcement on July 5, 2005, noting: “Shipments containing noncompliant regulated WPM will not be allowed to enter United States of America.” We are hearing that this is happening now, particularly for products coming from Canada into the United States.
There are exemptions: Wood packaging materials made entirely of manufactured wood material (e.g. particle board, plywood, oriented strand board); wine and whiskey barrels; or wood packaging materials made entirely of thin pieces of wood (6mm thickness or less) are exempted from the treatment and marking requirements. WPMs made of wood of Canadian origin are also exempted from the treatment/marking requirements; however, these materials from Canada will be inspected for pests.
This issue has global implications as well, because the introduction of pests associated with solid wood packaging materials is a worldwide problem. For this reason, there is a need to develop globally accepted measures that may be applied to solid wood packaging materials by all countries to practically eliminate the risk for most quarantine pests and significantly reduce the risk from other pests that may be associated with these materials. In the case of phytosanitary standards, the international standard-setting organization is the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). To learn more, visit the IPPC website.
Tags: Global Trade