What is ISPM 15?

  • ISPM 15 – The International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 is an international phytosanitary measure developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to directly address the need for treatment.
  • Wooden material with a thickness greater than 6mm, used to transport products between countries. Its main purpose is to prevent international transport and the spread of diseases and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems.
  • ISPM 15 affects all wooden packaging materials (pallets, crates, boxes, etc.) that require them to be stamped and then heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide and stamped or labeled. sign, with a compliance mark.
  • This sign of compliance is often referred to as a “wheat stamp”. ISPM 15-exempt products are made from alternative materials, such as paper, plastic or wood products (i.e. OSB, cardboard and plywood).


ISPM 15 revision

The Revision of ISPM No. 15 (2009) under Annex requires that wood used to manufacture ISPM 15 compliant Wood Packaging must be made from debarked wood[3] not to be confused with bark free wood. ISPM 15 was updated to adopt the bark restriction regulations proposed by the European Union in 2009. Australia held out for approximately one year with more stringent bark restrictions before conforming July 1, 2010

Debarked wood packaging

Wood packaging materials must be debarked prior to being heat treated or fumigated to meet ISPM 15 regulations. The debarking component of the regulation is to prevent the re-infestation of insects while lumber is sitting to be manufactured, or even after it has been manufactured. The official definition for debarked lumber according to the ISPM 15 Revision (2009) is:

“Irrespective of the type of treatment applied, wood packaging material must be made of debarked wood. For this standard, any number of visually separate and clearly distinct small pieces of bark may remain if they are: – less than 3 cm in width (regardless of the length) or – greater than 3 cm in width, with the total surface area of an individual piece of bark less than 50 square cm.”

Argument for bark removal

What are the post-treatment levels of infestation (with and without bark) compared with pre-treatment levels? Overall, from the studies presented there is either:
a) no significant difference between infestation levels of treated and untreated wood
b) differences identified are related to the species of insect which may prefer treated or untreated wood.

Internationally accepted types of treatment

  • HT (Heat Treatment) – The wood needs to be heated until its core reaches 56 °C for at least 30 minutes.
  • Steady Heat Treatment (HT): Standard procedure conducted in heating chambers;
  • Kiln-dried (KD): Similar to the standard HT, but it also requires moisture’s standards;
  • Mobile Heat Treatment (HT): Heat treatment conducted in heating chambers installed in trucks. Allows the treatment to be done anywhere.
  • Portable Chamber Process (PCP – HT): Heat treatment conducted in portable chambers made of thermal fabric. Allows the treatment to be done anywhere, but with lower costs. The process’ patent requirement belongs to the Brazilian company Fitolog Pest Control;
  • Fast Container Connector (FCC – HT): Heat treatment conducted directly in containers by a mobile heating unit. It is a simplified variation of PCP. Ideal for ports and terminals.
  • MB (Methyl Bromide) – Requires to completely fill an area with gaseous pesticide (methyl bromide).
  • Container Fumigation: The container where the wooden packaging is placed is completely filled with Methyl Bromide. After a 24-hour quarantine, the container is aerated and the wood/cargo is released;
  • Tent Fumigation: The wooden packaging is covered with a specific type of tent, sealed to the ground with weight. The tent is completely filled with methyl bromide. After a 24-hour quarantine, the tent is removed and the wood/cargo is released
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