According to Roddie Burgess, the Forestry Commission‘s head of plant health, six years on from the adoption of ISPM 15, the UK Wood Packaging Material Marking programme, some international traders still claim not to have heard of it.

“The Forestry Commission is receiving interception reports from some overseas plant health services and is surprised that there are still some exporters, including multi-nationals, who are still shipping goods on unmarked pallets.

“The US and Canada, especially, tend to refuse entry of the affected consignment and this is an expensive lesson for all concerned.

“We have recently heard that stocks of methyl bromide are running low and are not likely to be replenished. That means that heat treatment will become the only currently available option. Most wood is heat treated in kilns which not only meet the core temperature requirement of 56ºC, but which can also dry the wood to below 20% moisture content. This helps minimise problems associated with blue stain [caused by fungal attack].”