ISPM 15 Wood Packaging Certification Services

Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau (PLIB) is accredited in the U.S. and Canada to provide ISPM 15 certification to manufacturers of export wood packaging material.

What is ISPM 15?
Quarantine pests found in wood packaging (pallets, crates, spools, dunnage, etc.) present a significant threat to forest health worldwide. Pests that are native to the forests in one region of the world may not be native to the forests in another region. When pests are introduced into a forest ecosystem where they are non-native, it can have a significant effect on forest health and biodiversity.

The International Standard for Phytosanitary Measure No. 15 (ISPM 15), “Regulation of Wood Packaging Material in International Trade” is an international standard that was developed to help reduce the spread of wood-borne pests in solid wood packaging materials. ISPM 15 is written and controlled by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The IPPC is a part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Currently there are approximately 85 countries that require imported wood packaging to be ISPM 15 compliant and more countries are expected to adopt this measure in the future.

Products Covered by ISPM 15
Examples of wood packaging materials (WPM) commonly certified under ISPM 15 include: pallets, boxes, crates, spools and dunnage. However, WPM can take many shapes and forms when used to support or transport a commodity to its final destination.

WPM items produced entirely of reconstituted wood products (i.e. plywood, oriented strand board) are exempt from this standard. Only the raw lumber present in the WPM is required to meet the requirements of ISPM 15.

Treatment Methods
The current version of ISPM 15 recognizes two treatment measures for wood packaging: fumigation and heat treatment (HT).

Heat Treatment
Heat treatment is the most common method used by manufacturers to meet ISPM 15 WPM regulations. Lumber is considered heat treated when core temperature of 133°F (56°C) has been maintained for 30 consecutive minutes. An “HT” on the lumber grade stamp is a common way for mills to indicate lumber has been through the HT process.

Less common than heat treatment, methyl bromide fumigation is another accepted ISPM 15 treatment. WPM treated by this method will bear an IPPC mark containing “MB” rather than “HT.” Examples where fumigation might be a good option include: last minute treatments (in the country of origin, in-transit on the ship, or in the port of the destination country) and treatments of especially large or complex wood packaging material that cannot easily or practically be heated in a chamber to the required temperature.

Wood Packaging Labeling Under ISPM 15
Wood packaging shipped to any country that has adopted ISPM 15 must be labeled with either the IPPC HT mark or the IPPC MB mark. Shipments that enter ports without the certification mark can be detained and fumigated and/or the shipment may be refused and sent back to the port of origin or destroyed, all at the shipper’s expense.

Does ISPM 15 Apply to Your Operation?
If any of the following statements are true, you should consider our ISPM 15 Certification Program…

  • Your company manufactures its own solid wood pallets, crates, boxes or dunnage.
  • Your company exports to countries enforcing ISPM 15. Click here for a current list of ISPM 15 countries.
  • Your company wants to ensure that your wood packaging is compliant and will not be quarantined in a foreign port.

How Does the Program Work?
As a subscriber in the PLIB ISPM 15 program, your facility will be issued IPPC marks with a unique ID number which you can use to mark your packaging or dunnage. The IPPC mark indicates the wood packaging material complies with ISPM 15. It is the only certification or documentation required to show compliance with the standard. Each country has its own system for issuing IPPC marks and monitoring their usage. However, the appearance of the IPPC mark from country to country is nearly identical. The main difference is the ISO country code found on the mark. For example, IPPC marks issued in the U.S. will contain a “US,” in Canada a “CA,” in China a “CN,” and so on.

The key element in our program is a monthly audit conducted by one of our inspectors to ensure your facility is in compliance with ISPM 15 rules. A small monthly fee covers the cost of the inspections.

In addition to providing the necessary monthly site inspections, your PLIB inspector will work with you and your crew to help your team understand the program requirements and establish protocols to ensure you’ll meet the ISPM 15 standard.

U.S. Program
In the United States, the governing body for this regulation is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS has authorized the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) to execute and monitor the American program for heat treatment, which is named the Wood Packaging Material (WPM) Program. ALSC accredits quality control agencies, such as Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau, to offer service to producers of wood packaging material.

Canadian Program
In Canada, the governing body for this regulation is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA has authorized the Canadian Lumber Standards Accreditation Board (CLSAB) and the Canadian Wooden Pallet and Container Association to execute and monitor the Canadian program. CLSAB accredits quality control agencies, such as Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau, to offer this service to producers of wood packaging material.

Whether your company has onsite heat treating capabilities or you simply purchase HT stamped lumber to construct your wood packaging, PLIB can provide you with an IPPC HT mark to certify your international shipment.

If you have questions about how to become a certified producer of ISPM 15 wood packaging or if you simply have questions about how the process works, call us at 253-835-3344 (U.S.) or (604) 732-1782 (Canada) or contact us via email.