What Is Heat Treating Pallets and Why Is It Needed?

What Is Heat Treating Pallets & and Why Is It Needed?

September 29, 2020

What is Heat treating and why is it needed? Do you still need a heat treated pallet if only shipping nationally? If so, what products require having a heat treated pallet? The world of heat treating can be expansive and having products rejected because of this simple thing is not something anyone wants. So, lets talk about it and get clear on all things heat treating!

Heat treatment of pallets is something that has been required for international shipping in various countries since 2002. It is a process that involves heating the pallet to 133°F in a kiln for extended periods of time. Usually this process takes about 30 minutes and is used to kill any living organisms in the wood. This was required by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in 2002 as a means to keep insects and living organisms in the environments they belong. The standard has been defined as International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures # 15 or ISPM15. This is useful as a foreign organism could decimate native plans and wildlife in that area, becoming an invasive species and ruining local environments. Heat treating solves this problem in a relatively in expensive way to businesses. As an alternative, plastic pallets are exempt to the ISPM15 requirements, however they are more expensive to buy for businesses. 

You can recognize heat treated pallets by the stamp placed on them by manufactures. Manufactures must be audited in their processes by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) every so often to ensure that they are in compliance with IPSM15 standards. You can tell on the stamp where the pallet comes from, who applied the treatment, and what type of treatment was applied. Although we are talking about heat treatment with a kiln, there are 6 types of treatments accepted by the IPPC.  Keep in mind though this standard is not just for pallets. It is required for all wood packaging products such as dunnage and wooden reels, with a few exemptions.

Now that we have grip on what heat treatment is and why its needed in industry. What if you do not ship internationally? Do certain products need heat treated pallets to be accepted by the end user? Yes and no, while heat treatment is necessary for international shipping, nationally shipped products sometimes require preventing cross contamination, and use plastic pallets to comply.  These products include food and products regulated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, this post is not exhaustive , you can find more information about your situation by visiting www.ippc.int/en/core-activities/standards-setting/ispms/or if you are in the Lowcountry or Coastal Empire, book a consultation service with us at Pallet Jack.

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