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Inspection and Mark Removal Process Altered in the US

28 Dec 2014

The issue of pallet hygiene is a well documented one. Pallets are inspected – especially when they are heat treated – and then marked to show they meet the required standards.

At Associated Pallets, we heat treat our wooden pallets to ensure they meet the required ISPM15 standard that governs pallet hygiene and health. Heat treating pallets in this way not only improves the quality of shipments, but also offers pallet-users peace of mind. Pallets which have been appropriately treated are then marked accordingly, and users from then on can rest easy in the knowledge that their pallets are safe to use. This works much in the way that EPAL mark pallets which have been constructed to their standards.

However, problems can arise when pallets age or move across borders. Although ISPM15 is an internationally recognised standard, when pallets’ usage changes or requirements change, these standards can cause problems.

In the US, this marking process has been causing a previously unforeseen problem. Domestically repaired pallets must be heat treated and re-certified with the ISPM15 mark removed, but sometimes these can be missed.

If a stamp is missed and is found by an inspector, that entire group of pallets can be put into quarantine. This can have devastating logistical impact. This was unfair on organisations who were innocently missing ISPM15 marks that should have been removed but were still meeting the US’ heat treated pallet regulations.

The end result was an agreement that the level of pallets with marks removed had to be over 5% for a quarantine to be implemented.

The ALSC and the NWPCA are working together (American Lumber Standard Committee and National Wooden Pallet & Container Association) to outline and define clear and fair standards for when marks need to be removed. This includes changes to the quarantine process.

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