Federal Officials Reject Proposal to Require Domestic Packaging Treatment
Federal officials reject universal domestic packaging treatment.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 8/1/2011
The U.S. Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) has analyzed feedback about the proposal to develop a domestic treatment requirement for solid wood packaging material (WPM), such as pallets and dunnage. After careful review the agency has decided not to require domestic treatment citing the inability to prove domestic WPM as a major contributor to the spread of invasive pests.
Rebecca Bech, deputy administrator of AHPIS, wrote, “Because the pest risk cannot be demonstrated with certainty, any regulatory scheme to mitigate the pathway would be complex and limited in its effectiveness. Also, the costs and other burdens and impacts of regulations would be significant. For these reasons, we will not pursue the development of regulations at this time.”
Some in the wooden pallet industry, including leaders in the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) have lobbied for a domestic treatment requirement to remedy the confusing maze of local restrictions caused by the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle among other wood pests. The NWPCA suggested that treating domestic packaging would reduce the risk associated with shipping WPM while equalizing various local standards that sometimes give producers in non-quarantine areas a strategic market advantage.
A few high-profile members of the NWPCA, most notably IFCO Systems, opposed the proposal to require treatment and marking for all domestic WPM. IFCO challenged the science behind the proposal contending the move would not really solve the problem and would cost too much for the industry to comply.
The existing ISPM-15 standard for export pallets remains in place and is not impacted by this decision. The lack of a domestic treatment requirements suggests that local quarantines will continue to be the dominant way that domestic shipments will be regulated. This means that pallet companies must stay on top of these restrictions so that their customers can ship with confidence.
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