Heat treated wooden pallets, how to obtain ISPM 15 compliant wooden packaging

The transport of wooden packaging is subject to ISPM15 International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15, which regulates the phytosanitary requirements that these types of packaging must possess in order to reduce the spread of harmful microorganisms from one country to another.

The standard, which became necessary with the globalization of the markets, concerns all raw wood packaging with a thickness greater than 6 mm, which are exported outside the EU countries. The consequent increase in trade has considerably increased the risk of introducing parasites, insects and pests into the recipient states of the packaging, which would thus be subject to potentially serious damage to local vegetation and the ecosystem in general. The aim of the standard is also to preserve all the subjects that come into contact with the packaging.

The ISPM standard was decided by the FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - and introduced thanks to the IPPC, the International Convention for the Protection of Plants.

The IPCC / FAO trademark has been implemented by each country with different protocols and the Italian one provides for the criteria and requirements provided for by decree law 5825 of 7 April 2004 for FITOK certification.

Characteristics of wooden packaging conforming to the ISPM15 standard

The characteristics that the packaging must possess, in order to be considered compliant with the law, are:
- High Temperature heat treatment - at high temperature - of the wood used
- affixing of the trademark on compliant packaging with an indelible system and the appropriate logo in the shape of an ear

The responsibility for these two actions lies with the customer, who must first ensure that the packaging complies with the standard in question. The phytosanitary inspectors can order checks on the regularity of the treatments carried out on the packaging and, if they detect irregularities, they can apply administrative sanctions, unless the fact does not constitute a crime. The lack of correct procedures can lead to the seizure of the goods.

How to have wooden packaging conforming to the ISPM15 standard

In the past, pellets and wooden packaging were subjected to fumigation processes, or treatments with methyl bromide. This procedure was banned by the European Union in March 2010. Today, in order to have ISPM15 compliant packaging, it is necessary to subject them to high temperature treatment in specific ovens that allow the core of the wood to reach 56 ° C for 30 minutes.

Only after this step will it be possible to affix the IPPC / FAO - FITOK logo, which is composed of an indelible mark consisting of an alphanumeric code that identifies the manufacturer and the production lot. The FITOK - IPPC / FAO brand includes:
• the IPPC / FAO logo
• the ISO code, consisting of two letters, relating to the country of production / treatment of the wood packaging material
• the code of the company that produced or treated the wooden packaging (three digits)
• the code relating to the treatment methods: “HT” for heat treatment
The declared objective of the promoters of the ISPM-15 standard is to replace a system of wood packaging controls based on the issue of paper phytosanitary certificates, which, moreover, presented the difficulty of managing documents written in different languages, with a system of greater ease, speed and visibility, based on an easily recognizable international brand.

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