Howard Wooden Packaging

Specialist ISPM 15 Crates and Containers

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Why Do We Need ISPM 15 Wooden Packaging

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  • 07-09-2022
Why Do We Need ISPM 15 Wooden Packaging

Why do we need ISPM 15 wooden packaging? This article looks at what ISPM 15 stands for and what it means.

International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15)

ISPM 15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 was developed by the IPPC (International Plant Protection Organisation / Convention). It is a set of regulations that directly concerns the necessity of treating wood materials to be suitable for shipping between other countries and continents, especially those spanning a greater thickness than 6mm. 

The main purpose of undergoing heat treatments and other approaches involved in the ISPM15 regulations is to prevent the spread of insects and disease during international transport as these can damage the packaging, the quality of the products and the specialised plants and ecosystems surrounding these contaminated goods within the supply chain. 

ISPM15 is a standard that affects numerous forms of solid wood packaging materials, such as dunnages, crates, pallets, pallet collars, etc. Ensuring your packaging is compliant involves debarking the wood and completing a heat treatment and some complete chemical fumigation with methyl bromide; however, this can be just as harmful as not undergoing the heat treatment process.

Finally, the wooden packaging of whatever kind is then branded or stamped to certify and ensure compliance; you may hear the compliance ISPM stamp is casually referred to as a 'wheat stamp'. You'll find that products exempt from the ISPM 15 requirements include plastic pallets, paper or wood panel products, such as plywood, OSB, hardboard or particle board. 

Applicable & Exempt Products Under ISPM-15

ISPM-15 is a regulation primarily applicable to those dealing with wood for packaging their goods and various products. Wood packaging materials consist of crates, pallets and pallet collars, dunnage, reels and various other wooden items, including bracing.

It's paramount for these products to be heat treated to ensure they are protected from the risk of diseases, pests and contaminants

 However, while it is an essential process for many of these, there are still a few existing material packaging products exempt from these ISPM15 standards. Such exempt materials include plastic, metal, paper and any debarked wood, processed wood material or engineered wood products, for example, hardboard, plywood, or oriented strand board materials.

Any shipments within the same country are often exempt from ISPM 15 regulations or heated treatments. When travelling shorter distances, they are typically at low risk of contracting and spreading numerous species of contaminating pests and diseases. 

What does ISPM 15 stand for, & what does it mean?

ISPM 15 is one of the regulations allowing wooden packaging products to be suitably transported across countries and borders without damaging or spreading diseases or contaminants to those handling the products or the customers/companies receiving them.

The acronym stands for International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No.15. 

We must begin with its development to further break down its meaning.

International standards are developed by influential organisations that come together to formulate global laws and regulations for all or the majority to follow.

Why Do We Need ISPM 15 Wooden Packaging

The most prevalent organisation known for developing and setting international standards that those across the UK, Northern Ireland, EU member states and various other continents follow is commonly known as the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation.)

Phytosanitary measures are actions that help prevent the spread of contaminants, disease and pests, thus successfully protecting animals, plants and humans from such. Heat treatments are the best and safest way to perform these phytosanitary measures on wooden materials. 

What does ISPM 15 describe?

The ISPM 15's entire purpose is to reduce the potential risk of spreading or introducing harmful diseases, contaminants and pests that could be detrimental to the structural integrity of the wooden material and affect the quality of the products during international trade.

Those affected are mostly dunnage or those wood packaging products made of raw wood, whether that be coniferous or non-coniferous. The process of heat treatments can exclude any processed wood packaging that allows it to be completely free from pests, for example, plywood, as they don't require any additional and ongoing protection.

ISPM 15 is an acronym used to describe a standard intended to provide three fundamental approaches that help companies manufacture products and ship them off to various countries around the globe by eradicating potential contaminants, organisms and pests obstructing the packaging and the overall quality of their contents. 

The following are the three approaches that ISPM15 allow and include:

Heat Treatment

Kiln Drying of distinct small pieces

Methyl bromide (MB) fumigation for the total surface area of wood packaging material

Having your product packaging follow these approaches will allow you to gain approval for your goods, whether for United Nations Foods and Agricultural Organisations, or companies with other products, to move on to the next stage in the international shipment process.   

Having your product packaging follow these approaches will allow you to gain approval for your goods, whether for United Nations Foods and Agricultural Organisations, or companies with other products, to move on to the next stage in the international shipment process.   

What countries require ISPM 15?

It's paramount for all packages crossing various borders around the globe to adhere to strict regulations regarding the quality and content of their packaging. The idea of WPM moving goods is a comprehensive process and requires immense micro-managing to ensure that the contents are safe to manoeuvre and safe inside.

Wooden packaging and pallets are often at risk of contracting diseases from pests, spreading them and wood-damaging pests that harm softwood and hardwood. Many pests and larvae feed off wooden materials, damaging structural integrity.

They often build homes in it, which is unsanitary for those customers or companies receiving or handling these products. Most countries across the world implement ISPM 15 to ensure all wooden packaging products that enter their country have been heat-treated and, therefore, protected from any harm or destruction whilst in transit. Inspections are implemented on a risk-targeted basis.

A complete list of the numerous United Nations countries, alongside Great Britain that need all wooden packaging to meet the necessary ISPM15 industry standards upon entering their borders. Each has unique country and manufacturing codes so that professionals can easily detect them. 










Costa Rica


Dominican Republic




Eu (Portugal)




Hong Kong










New Zealand








South Korea



South Africa

Sri Lanka







Why Do Wooden Pallets Need To Be Heat Treated?

The reason for heat-treated pallets is to prevent the spread of diseases, pests and various other aspects that could damage the structure of the pallets and, thus, affect the products inside.

Heat treatment is one of the most effective methods of ridding harmful insects from obstructing your wood packaging materials.

Companies and border staff cannot sufficiently transport diseased packaging across countries or around the globe, so it's paramount that no matter the packaging, whether wooden, plastic or metal, it must be safe. 

There are various other treatments; for example, KD (Kiln-Drying) is a chemical pressure impregnation that uses hot water, dry heat and steam to meet the requirements to reach the ISPM15 standards.

Heat treatment is known as the best, most suitable treatment for wooden pallets to achieve and comply with the necessary requirements.

Why Do Wooden Pallets Need To Be Heat Treated?

Many manufacturers have completed a wide range of treatments on the packaging of their company products, such as chemical fumigation. Unfortunately, this resulted in recalls and many return inwards within the pharmaceutical and food industries. Many found traces of harmful chemicals that had seeped through and affected the quality of their products due to the increased risks.

Another reason other methods like chemical fumigation aren't the best route is because they can often leave unpleasant smells; this is the least desirable aspect, especially for companies or suppliers transporting goods they wish to sell and gaining positive reviews.

It could also emit toxic fumes, which is incredibly dangerous for those handling and receiving the packages. Heat treatment is the best and safest way to ensure all products in your wooden packaging adhere to the strict ISPM 15 regulations. It is a method most acquainted with eradicating larvae and insects that could cause damage to the packaging materials.

However, it also is known for reducing moisture content and makes it far safer for those handling your products down the line at checking points. ISPM 15 Packaging and Crates by Howard Wooden Packaging Howard Wooden Packaging supply treated wooden packaging for:






Why do we need ISPM 15 Wooden Packaging?

ISPM 15 has been adopted on a worldwide scale. ISPM 15 is a method of treatment which dramatically reduces the risk of disease and insects in transportation, which can seriously harm plants and ecosystems.

The ISPM 15 Treatment Process ISPM 15, also known as ISPM 15/56/30. The treatment process requires that the core internal temperature of the timber is heated to 56 degrees for 30 minutes. Such is achieved by placing the timber in a kiln and heated to the optimum or minimum temperature.

Knowing that your timber has been treated It is easy to know if the timber has been treated. Your ISPM 15 packaging or container will be stamped with the internationally recognised UK Wood Packaging Material Marking Programme Stamp (UKWPMMP), the IPPC logo and certification number.

Such will contain information on the country of origin, member governments and our unique business Identifier's entire profile. All ISPM 15 packaging in the UK is assessed and audited by the Forestry Commission every 6 months. 

Howard Wooden Packaging can arrange delivery of our wooden packaging products in any size or quantity. If you would like to discuss your requirements in greater detail, contact our team of packaging specialists today.

Countries which require ISPM 15 Packaging and Crates ISPM 15 Packaging is a legal requirement in many countries throughout the world. If you are exporting goods, ensure that you meet the legal requirements. Howard Wooden Packaging has put together a list of countries which require ISPM packaging and containers. 

Discover what others say about our service - ISPM 15 Testimonials Howard Wooden Packaging has provided outstanding service and value in the packaging sector for over 25 years. We have built a strong and leading reputation for consistency, quality and service. Discover what our clients say by viewing the testimonials on our page.