Questions and Answers on ISPM 15

Questions and Answers on ISPM 15

The following are questions that Packnet has been asked concerning the ISPM 15 regulation. Hopefully this post will help clear up any misunderstandings about the standard.

What is ISPM 15?

ISPM 15 is a global standard for international shipments using wood packaging materials. The standard specifies that certain wood used for packaging and crating needs to be treated.

Why do we have the standard?

The standards purpose is to control the spread of invasive species across international borders, specifically insects that burrow and nest in trees. The US has experienced a number of beetle’s non-native to North America that are now infesting and damaging our trees and forests. The Asian Longhorned beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer are two examples of insects that came from China via wooden containers.

What kind of treatment is specified?

There are currently three types of treatment allowed by the standard: 1. Chemical fumigation with Methyl Bromide. 2. Conventional heat treating to 56 degrees C for 30 minutes. 3: Microwave or dielectric heating.

Are there any exceptions for wood products?

Yes, there are some manufactured woods and very thin wood products (less than 6 mm) where there is virtually a zero chance of infestation are exempt from this standard. Any sheet material such as OSB, MDF, plywood are also exempt since heat and glues are used in the manufacturing process virtually eliminating the possibility of any pest survival.

How can one tell if the wood is ISPM 15 certified?

All certified wood has a special ISPM 15 mark stamped on it. A wood crate or container must have this stamp consciously placed on two opposing sides. Any added dunage for bracing must also be stamped.


Do all countries enforce this standard?

Over 170 countries have agreed to abide by this standard, every year more countries agree to adapt the standard.

Does the ISPM 15 Standard get updated?

Yes the standard is a living document that periodically gets updated. It has been updated 3 times since is first adoption in 2002.

What US agency is responsible for enforcement of ISPM 15?

In the United States, the governing body for this regulation is the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) which is a part of the United States Department of Agriculture.

What companies can provide ISPM 15 certified lumber?

Any company that goes through the certification program and is audited and certified by an accredited organization can provide ISPM 15 compliant wood packaging. Packnet is a certified supplier and is licensed and audited by the Timber Products Inspection Agency.

Do all counties enforce the regulation?

To our knowledge every country that has signed the treaty is actively enforcing it. We are aware of situations where countries may interpret the standard differently; China is believed to have a much stricter interpretation of the standard than the US.

Has ISPM 15 made a difference? There is very little data available to adequately conclude that this standard has effectively reduced infestation. For one thing very little measurement was done prior to the adaption of the treaty, from an experiential standpoint; there has been no reported infestation incident in the US that can be attributed to shipments received after the treaty was signed.

If you have any questions about ISPM15, feel free to contact Packnet or see our ISPM15 webpage.

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