Guide

Wood packaging

Wood treating and marking requirements

To minimise the spread of pests, International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures 15 (ISPM15) specifies requirements for treatment and marking of wood packaging that have now been adopted by close to 200 countries ISPM15 covers pallets, cases, crates, as well as dunnage (loose packing or wedges) that are manufactured from non-man made wooden materials.

To achieve compliance, wood without its bark must undergo heat treatment which must be carried out to an agreed standard and by an approved source. Only after a prescribed treatment can wood be marked in the prescribed manner as being ISPM15 compliant.

National wood packaging and marking programmes must be governed by the National Plant Protection Organisation. In England, Scotland and Wales this is the Forestry Commission and in Northern Ireland it's the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Wood treatment

The only current approved measure for wood treatment is heat treatment where the wood is treated to a minimum temperature of 56ºC for at least 30 minutes (HT) throughout the profile of the wood.

Marking requirements

Wood treated in accordance with ISPM15 should be marked with:

  • the IPPC logo for wood packaging material
  • the ISO two-digit code for the country of manufacture
  • a unique producer code assigned by the National Plant Protection Organisation
  • the appropriate treatment code, HT (for Heat Treatment)
  • no other information is permitted in the mark which must be contained within a border

All marks must be permanent and legible and appear on at least two opposite vertical surfaces. Some countries permit repairs to be made using treated wood carrying the ISPM15 mark identifying where and by whom the repair was carried out.

Exemptions

The following types of wood packaging material don't need to be treated and marked:

  • solid wood less than 6 millimetres thick
  • manufactured wood products such as plywood, particle board, oriented strand board, chipboard
  • barrels for wine and spirit
  • gift boxes for wine, cigars and other commodities which have been processed in some way to remove pest risk.

However, some countries may have other controls in place, and you should check with the destination country before exporting. Read more about the requirements for exports using wood packaging.