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Scientists Discuss ISPM-15 Changes, New Rules Loom on Horizon
ISPM-15 Update: Scientists recently met to develop emerging treatment technology and forthcoming changes to the international standard for solid wood packaging.
Date Posted: 12/1/2008
Scientific experts and government representatives recently gathered in
IFQRG is developing a decision tree (see Appendix 1) to evaluate new treatment methods for solid wood packaging. The participants agreed to begin by determining what pests to test first. The initial criteria should determine if there is variation in each pest group (i.e. bark beetles) and use this evaluation to determine how many of each species in each pest group should be tested. Several members advocated that surrogates can be used as long as some evidence of equivalency to the pests of concern is provided. New treatment providers will have to test the efficacy of any new process against the most important and the most resistant species.
International leaders are discussing doing for wood what has been done for wood packaging material. IFQRG is studying how best to develop a consensus standard that could help harmonize existing laws on the transport of raw logs or lumber. Numerous countries stipulate specific import requirements for wood, including: heat treatment, kiln drying, chemical treatment, and/or bark removal although there is no consensus standard. IFQRG is examining how best to provide a framework that harmonizes various laws while providing countries room to enforce the voluntary standard as they see fit.
It is really too early to tell just how strict the proposed wood standard may be. IFQRG is considering issues, such as the risk associated to specific pests, suitable phytosanitary measures, the impact of bark, the dangers of post-harvest infestation, and ways to avoid confusing any new requirements with the existing ISPM-15 standard.
Dr Eric Allen with the Pacific Forestry Centre in
Researchers in the
Treating wood can be a problem too because it can be susceptible to so many different invasive species.
Dr. Allen said, “Unlike fruit where you may be dealing with one fruit fly or a very limited number of pests, wood has potentially hundreds of thousands of pests that could pose a danger. You can’t do research to ensure the efficacy of a particular treatment to kill all pests.”
Researchers continue to look at new treatment technologies that can lower cost, reduce the impact on the environment and work in less developed countries. They considered the differences between heat treatment, methyl bromide, sulphuryl fluoride and microwave treatment. Although comparison research was not conclusive, IFQRG determined that microwave treatment at a frequency of 2.45 GHz to a minimum of 62°C for two minutes applied to wood of a maximum thickness of 200mm should satisfy the requirements of ISPM-15.
One interesting technology development that was discussed is the use of an innovative solar kiln design by a company in
IFQRG has looked at a number of contentious issues over the last few years. The most notable one was the debate over bark removal. In the end, the Europeans got some of what they wanted and the