Wood Packaging Material (WPM) Regulation
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued new standards for the importation of unmanufactured wood articles that impact freight pallets, crates and other packing materials. Beginning September 16, 2005, all wood packing materials used in U.S. imports must be specially treated, and must also carry an international stamp of treatment certification. Non-complying shipments will be denied entry, and must be either re-exported or destroyed.
With the new regulations, the USDAs Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) brings the U.S. into compliance with the international standard established in 2002 by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The standard calls for wood packaging material to be heat treated to 56 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or fumigated with methyl bromide. The intent is to reduce the hazard of introducing plant pests into the U.S. that might prove detrimental to agriculture and forestry.
The standard also calls for a special, standardized stamp that certifies the wood has been properly treated. Since wood packing materials are often reused or recycled, origin and phytosanitary status (absence of plant-borne pathogens) are hard to trace, making it impossible for national plant protection organizations to apply risk analyses and mitigation for pests associated with particular origins. Therefore, only a globally accepted measure that can be applied to all wood packing materials from all countries can effectively eliminate the risk for most of the potential pests.
The stamp bears the IPPC logo, the two-letter International Standards Organization (ISO) code for the country of treatment, the unique number assigned by the national plant protection organization to the company responsible for ensuring proper treatment, and the abbreviation HT or MB to denote whether the heat treatment or methyl bromide method was used.