Understanding ISPM-15 Stamp Regulations: An In-Depth Guide

Understanding ISPM-15 Stamp Regulations: An In-Depth Guide

Navigating the ISPM-15 stamp regulations can be challenging, especially with many countries having adopted these standards. This guide addresses common questions to help you comply with ISPM-15 when exporting products and not facing any hold ups to your production line.

What is ISPM-15?

ISPM No. 15 stands for the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15. This set of guidelines regulates wood packaging materials in international trade to prevent the spread of pests. Adopted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), part of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and is a critical standard in global trade to protect against pest contamination.

It mandates phytosanitary measures to mitigate the risk of pest introduction via wood packaging materials used in international trade. These measures protect wood products during shipping but do not provide ongoing protection from pests.

ISPM-15 applies to wood packaging materials made from both softwoods and hardwoods, including pallets, crates, drums, reels, load boards, and dunnage. However, it does not apply to processed wood products like plywood, particle board, oriented strand board, or veneer, which are free from pests due to treatment with glue, heat, or pressure. Packaging made from exempt materials combined with solid wood components must also be treated and stamped according to regulations.

Is an ISPM-15 Stamp Required on All Export Packaging?

Yes, ISPM-15 regulations require an ISPM-15 stamp on all wood packaging materials, except processed wood products, to certify they have been treated. Treatments can include heat treatment (HT) or fumigation, and the ISPM-15 stamp must be visible on each piece or the completed packaging unit.

Non-compliance with ISPM-15 can lead to different actions by various countries. Some may fumigate the package and charge a premium, while others might deny entry or even incinerate or bury non-compliant shipments.

Can You Buy ISPM15 Certified Wood to Build Your Own Packaging?

No, the certification applies only to finished wood packaging materials, not raw lumber. There is no such thing as ISPM-15 certified wood or lumber; the stamp is applied to completed packaging products. Only authorized stamp users registered with accredited inspection agencies can use the stamp.

What Does the ISPM-15 Stamp Look Like?
  • Agency Trademark – Logo or name of the accredited agency.
  • Facility Identification – Company authorized to use the stamp.
  • HT or MB Mark – Indicating heat treatment (HT) or methyl bromide fumigation (MB).
  • Country Code – Two letter ISO country abbreviation.
  • IPPC Approved – International symbol for compliant wood packaging.
  • DUN – If the wood is used as dunnage.
What Are the Regulations?

Under ISPM-15 standards, wood must either be heat treated to 56 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or fumigated with methyl bromide. Both treatments are not required. Once treated and stamped, the certification does not expire. The stamped wood packaging can be reused without re-treatment or a new stamp, unless the material has been altered. If repaired or remanufactured, it must be re-treated and re-stamped by an inspection agency. Documentation alone is not sufficient; each full-sized piece of wood must carry the stamp to meet the requirements.

Is there bark on your packaging? For fumigated wood, all bark must be removed. Heat treated wood can have small amounts of bark, within the size limits specified by the guidelines, to obtain regulation approval. Some countries mandate that wood packaging materials be entirely free of bark, even if heat treated.

More than 130 nations around the world, including the United States, adhere to the ISPM-15 regulations. A list of countries requiring this stamp is available through appropriate resources. Wood packaging materials sent to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories do not require a stamp.

By understanding and following these ISPM-15 regulations, you can ensure your wood packaging materials comply with international standards, facilitating smooth and pest-free trade across borders.

Wrapping It Up

Conner Packaging is a leader in the industrial packaging space with more than 40 years of experience. We are authorized to use the ISPM-15 stamp, after meeting requirements, for our customers that are needing to ship packaging to other countries. Let us help you get your packaging worldwide today!

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