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A) How to avoid problems in exports?

In order to avoid obstacles in international trade, exporting companies are recommended to check:

If the country where they intend to export to requires the application of ISPM-15
If the supplier of wood packaging or the fumigation treatment operator is accredited by the Consortium for Wood and Cork Service - FITOK Technical Committee
If the marking of the wooden packaging complies with ISPM-15
If the packaging is insured
ATTENTION: The use of packaging marked and treated according to the ISPM No. 15 standard is not compulsory for circulation within the EU, except for packaging from Portugal.


B) What is ISPM-15 heat treatment?

ISPM-15 heat treatment involves reaching and maintaining 56° C for 30 minutes at the core of the wood without complete drying. No indication is given as to the final moisture value that the treated materials should have at the end of the treatment. Following heat treatment alone at 56° C for 30 minutes at the centre of the wood, it is possible that mould may develop on pallets that have been treated and marked IPPC/FAO and that, consequently, complaints may be made in the country of destination (as has already happened). We therefore recommend that user companies ask to complete the heat treatment with the drying cycle where possible, as heat treatment alone at 56° C for 30 minutes at the heart of the wood does not guarantee the absence of mould development on wooden packaging. We would like to remind you that the drying of wooden packaging is an added value to the packaging itself (e.g. it is more stable in terms of size and deformation compared to fresh packaging) and that in order to obtain a wood moisture content of 18% it is necessary to leave the material in the drying cell for 36/72 hours compared to 6/12 hours for the ISPM-15 heat treatment. It is clear that the drying operation of the packaging has an impact on the final cost of the packaging (dried wood does not provide favourable conditions for fungal/mould attack).

C) Is phytosanitary traceability important?

FAO's ISPM-15 defines that NPPOs (National Plant Protection Organisations), suppliers or producers may, at their discretion, add control numbers or other information used to identify specific lots.
The regional phytosanitary services and the managing body have considered that the inclusion of a lot number (phytosanitary traceability references, or RRF), which allows an unequivocal link between phytosanitary treatment and wood packaging treated or produced with raw material already treated, is essential to guarantee the maximum traceability and safety of the treatment. To date, it is only compulsory in Italy to include a unique RRF to ensure traceability. In this way, companies are able to prove, in the event of a dispute, that the treatment was carried out and was effective and, in the event of trademark infringement, that the company was not involved in the incident. The introduction of the Phytosanitary Traceability Reference (RRF) is the key factor that has allowed the stipulation of a specific insurance cover, the first of its kind at international level, linked to unforeseen events that may involve wooden packaging subject to regular phytosanitary treatment according to the ISPM-15 standard. To find out more click here.

D) Are FITOK-branded products insured?

Among the tools of the FITOK Technical Committee, specific insurance cover is available for unforeseen events that may involve transport units in wooden packaging that has already undergone regular phytosanitary treatment certified according to the ISPM-15 standard. The policy, developed in cooperation with a leading European insurance group, protects all operators, both packers and users, who have diligently and correctly implemented phytosanitary treatment practices, from events beyond their responsibility. The proposed policy does not therefore concern the value and application of the ISPM-15 and FITOK labels, but can be useful in the event of any disputes that may arise during a shipment, where the inspector's discretion exists, and which is subject to the "good faith" of manufacturers and users of wood packaging. It is valid for one year from the date of treatment and/or branded production with effect from 1 July 2008. In general, the policy covers costs and expenses incurred regarding, and in particular: In the event of a refusal to authorise importation, the freight for return to the port of departure, the cost of fumigation and/or heat treatment, and the freight for re-routing to the initial port of destination. In the event of a request by the competent authorities for on-site treatment, the costs of transport to and from the company in charge as well as the costs of fumigation and/or heat treatment of the packaging deemed to be non-compliant. In the case of a request for destruction of packaging, the costs of incineration and/or burial and/or reduction to sawdust and subsequent treatment of packaging deemed to be non-compliant and/or other measures deemed appropriate by the competent authorities. In case of a dispute at destination for a FITOK IPPC/FAO labelled package, contact the FITOK Technical Area, and ISPM15 of FAO allows:

  • export to all parts of the world
  • speeding up the passage to customs
We insure wooden packaging TODAY to guarantee your TOMORROWS
are all insured against possible international disputes ISPM No 15

E) Which wooden materials are not subject to ISPM-15?

Wooden packaging material or wooden packaging consisting entirely of wood-based products (e.g. plywood*, particle board, OSB or veneer) produced with adhesives, heat and pressure (or a combination thereof), as well as wooden packaging materials such as veneer logs, sawdust, wood wool, wood shavings and raw wood cut into thin pieces (less than 6 mm thick) are not subject to this regulation.

In the case of packaging made from mixed materials (solid raw wood and wood-based products), only the part relating to the raw wood material therefore needs to be treated.

*to be retracted for Australia

F) How to read the label

The wooden pallet is an essential logistical tool as well as a working instrument used in various sectors, from large-scale distribution to production, from logistics to transport. However, if it does not have the minimum technical characteristics to ensure its safety, it can pose a risk to those who use it. Epal, the international quality brand for wooden pallets, invites all economic operators to purchase and repair wooden pallets from companies approved and authorised by Epal. This increases controls so that those who are outlawed can leave the market. EU legislation - and consequently national legislation - has imposed new safety and environmental performance standards on companies. "Forward-looking forest management and the use of a certified quality product are the guarantee of a future for our sector https://epal.conlegno.eu/informazioni-tecniche/prodotti