Using wood packaging, including pallets, in international trade to transport goods entails a risk of introduction of various pests and diseases. In order to eliminate the risk a phytosanitary standard was developed for wood packaging - International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 ("Regulation of Wood Packaging Material in International Trade") under FAO International Plant Protection Convention (www.ippc.int).
One of the rules set out in the standard is that wood used to manufacture wood packaging should undergo heat treatment to achieve core temperature of at least 56℃ for at least 30 minutes. To confirm the compliance with this requirement a special IPPC-approved mark and the treatment establishment number are placed on packaging. The above requirement does not apply to packaging composed fully of elements processed using glue, high temperature or pressure, such as particle boards, plywood, veneer, etc., as well as such materials as wood shavings, sawdust, wood wool, wood cut into thin strips (of less than 6 mm), etc.
Wood packaging imported into the European Union, including Poland, must be marked in accordance with the abovementioned requirements.
This requirement does not apply to packaging in circulation among EU member states and between the EU and Switzerland, with the exception of coniferous wood packaging moved out of Portugal due to the risk of introduction of pine wood nematode occurring in this country. Whether the abovementioned requirements apply to pallets exported out of the European Union depends on phytosanitary import rules of the country of destination. Other countries' rules may be found on SPHSI website, or at www.ippc.int.
In order to meet the abovementioned standard a special list of compliant pallet manufacturers is kept in Poland. Manufacturers are listed, under Chief Inspector's of Plant Protection and Seeds approval, by Wood Technology Institute, Poznań (www.itd.poznan.pl), Wood Testing and Application Laboratory, tel.: 061 84 92 425. In order for an establishment to be listed it must be audited by the staff of the Institute, and once listed it receives an individual number to be used to mark its products.
International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) 15 is available here.