Notice to U.S. Exporters: Altering Certified Wood Packaging Materials

August 11, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reminds U.S. exporters not to alter certified wood packaging material in any way or mix it with other, noncertified materials. Individuals or companies who alter certified wood packaging material and distribute the altered product are not in compliance with APHIS regulations and the “International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No 15, Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade” (ISPM 15).

United States exporters who use noncompliant materials may be subject to international fees, fines, and possible bans by our trading partners. Repair and remanufacture companies producing and distributing noncompliant wood packaging material could be held liable by the exporter and/or prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

APHIS’ wood packaging material regulations took effect in July 2006 and require wood packaging material moving internationally to have an ISPM 15 mark which is legible and easily visible on each piece of packaging; preferably on two opposite sides of the material. To find approved wood packaging material production companies in your area, or to learn how to become an approved company, please contact one of the 19 agencies authorized to perform wood packaging material inspections on behalf of APHIS.

Consult the listing of agencies and their contact information at the Web site of the ACCREDITED AGENCIES FOR SUPERVISORY AND LOT INSPECTION OF WOOD PACKAGING MATERIAL, April 2015, http://www.alsc.org/greenbook%20collection/WPM_Facsimile.pdf. (Please note the locations of these agencies are the company headquarters and may not indicate their areas of service.)

APHIS’ wood packaging material regulations are based on the ISPM 15. ISPM 15 provides effective, equitable, and uniform standards (prescribed treatments, certification procedures, and standardized markings) that all nations could use to mitigate the risk from wood packing material. APHIS incorporated the ISPM 15 requirements into its import and export regulations (7 CFR 319.403(b) and 7 CFR 353.7 (d), respectively).

In accordance with these regulations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspects imported wood packaging material. American Lumber Standard Committee, through a Memorandum of Understanding with APHIS, inspects U.S. produced or reconstituted wood packaging material, using accredited thirdparty inspection agencies. These inspections keep noncompliant material out of the United States. APHIS is authorized through the Plant Protection Act to take the same legal action against fraudulent stamps as it would against counterfeit phytosanitary certificates. Violations of ISPM 15 requirements under the Plant Protection Act have resulted in a variety of enforcement actions, including an administrative decision and order, civil penalties of as much as $100,000, and felony convictions.

    TP is on Social Media

    June 16, 2015

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      TP Joins the Railway Tie Association

      April 07, 2015

      Timber Products has joined the Railway Tie Association (RTA) to assist in the research and development of railway ties. The RTA was organized in 1919 with the mission to provide continual improvements in the life cycles of wood crosstie systems. Timber Products Analytical Laboratory is a member of the Research and Development Committee and will provide support in field and analytical research. For more information regarding the Railway Tie Association, please visit www.rta.org.

      If Timber Products can assist in the inspection and evaluation of any wood crosstie systems, please contact Greg Pittman at 770-922-8000.

        TP Physical Lab Continues Expansion

        February 16, 2015

        Timber Products Physical Lab continues to expand its operations.  The equipment pictured below is used for testing wood packaging material to industry standards and specifications.  We have also join the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) and perform tests to a variety of these standards as well.  The information generated from our lab can be extremely beneficial to a company's sales and marketing efforts.  If your customer has technical requirements for the wood packaging material they purchase, we have the ability to test your product to generate the required information you need.  Whether it's testing to established or proprietary standards, Timber Products has the flexibility to meet your needs and we welcome the opportunity to be of service to you.  For more information contact Darin Thompson, Physical Lab Manager at 678-262-7271 or email to dthompson@tpinspection.com.  


          New Section in Regulations for Dunnage

          December 31, 2014

          The American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) has created a new section in their regulations related to dunnage.  This section will state as follows:

          1.5.1 Dunnage, as defined by ISPM 15 is wood packaging material used to secure or support a commodity but which does not remain associated with the commodity.  As dunnage is a wood packaging product available as an individual piece of lumber it is a product with special considerations.  Those considerations are:

          1. Dunnage is not intended for use in the construction of wood packaging material pallets, crates, boxes, etc.
          2. The seller shall inform its customers of the requirements of its use.
          3. When improper use of dunnage is encountered, the agency shall take corrective action with the producer and, if necessary, the customer or owner.  If for any reason the improper use is not corrected, the agency under whose supervision the dunnage was produced shall, at a minimum, notify the producer and the customer or owner of their responsibilities should any damages and liability arise from the improper use of dunnage.

          What is important to take away from this is that it is the facility’s responsibility to advise their customers of the proper use of dunnage material.  It cannot be used to build multi-component WPM.  It is meant to be used only as an individual piece of wood for blocking, bracing or support.  There could be liability issues related to the improper use of IPPC dunnage marked material internationally and a facility’s customers should be made aware of this when they purchase this material from you.  Please let your inspector know if you have any questions related to the proper use of IPPC dunnage marked WPM.

          For more information, please contact:

          Matt McGowan

          WPM Program Manager

          Timber Products Inspection, Conyers GA