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Pest Regulations Clarified, Changed
Pest regulations update: Government and regulatory agencies continue to prevent the spread of pests in wood packaging material and wood products by updating regulations and clarifying ones that are confusing.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 8/1/2012
Over the past several months, there have been a number of changes to pest regulations that affect the pallet industry, including ISPM-15 heat treatment requirements and quarantined areas. The following is an overview of the major events in the pest regulation arena.
ISPM-15 Marks on Recycled Pallets
In April, the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) brought to the attention of the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) some discrepancies in how various ISPM-15 certification agencies were treating recycled pallets. Dr. Edgar Deomano, the technical director of the NWPCA, commented that some recyclers had been asked to obliterate all ISPM-15 marks on all pallets received into a recycling facility, not just those that were actually repaired. Concerned about inequalities in standard enforcement, the NWPCA asked for the ALSC to clarify the policy in this specific situation as well as called on the organization to change other policies deemed to be too strict. Deomano said, “Some inspection agencies are overstepping and some are too lax in enforcement. We just want it to be uniform across the board.”
The ALSC responded by clarifying its policy. Tom Searles, the president of ALSC, wrote, “The only time that it is required to remove IPPC marks from wood packaging material (WPM) is when the WPM has been repaired. If the WPM is passed through the facility with no repair there is no requirement to remove the mark.” This clarification should allow recyclers to seek consistent application if a certification agency requests a different compliance action.
However, there are still some unresolved concerns held by some pallet recyclers about ALSC rulings. The most notable concern is that ALSC does not allow you to re-certify a pallet repaired or re-manufactured with compliant boards. Instead ALSC requires that the entire pallet be re-treated and marked as well as the old marks removed if you want to keep it part of the ISPM-15 program. U.S. recyclers complain that removing the old marks makes sense, but requiring re-treatment of the entire pallet seems a bit overboard. In Canada and many other countries, authorities allow recyclers to use treated and properly certified lumber to repair or re-manufacture a pallet.
Searles explained that the ALSC position is that if you can’t prove what has been done, you have to re-treat the entire pallet. This helps ensure the efficacy of the program and protects the recycler because it could be held liable if some other party put non-compliant or infested material on the pallet and a resulting pest interception occurred.
Searles wrote, “Non-conformance reflects on us all. When an interception occurs, the entire system can have its integrity called into question.”
The NWPCA recently called for ALSC to change its policy. Deomano said that ISPM-15 allows you to repair with treated/marked boards, fumigate or re-heat treat the entire load. As the governing agency over the U.S. program, ALSC has decided to go with a more stringent rule to alleviate concerns about what happened with a pallet since its last treatment. ASLC has shown no signs of changing its mind although the NWPCA stated it would continue to push for improvements in the recycling rules and would work with ALSC on this matter.
Another major concern is all the pallet recyclers who are not part of the program. Deomano said, “The guys outside the program can do what they want, which puts participants at a competitive disadvantage.” There doesn’t seem to be much anybody can do about those companies unless they specifically infringe on a mark (such as marking untreated pallets) and get caught.
New Federal EAB Policy
After announcing a policy change in February 2012 and then delaying it to provide for more review, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proceeded with a new federal quarantine policy for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The new policy “allows unrestricted interstate movement of regulated articles within contiguous federal quarantine boundaries, with the exception of movements to protected areas within the existing quarantine area. The change became effective on July 1, 2012.”
The protected areas include any area identified by a state as pest free for which the state has regulations to protect against the human assisted intrastate spread of EAB. Regulated EAB material includes all ash wood with the bark and sapwood remaining, ash nursery stock, and all hardwood firewood.
This policy change will allow EAB regulated articles to move freely within contiguous quarantined areas, except interstate movement into the protected areas. Movements of regulated materials from quarantined areas to protected areas must be done with a properly issued federal certificate or limited permit. Requirements for movement of regulated materials out of the federal quarantined area, regardless of destination, will remain unchanged. By harmonizing the rules in the majority of the EAB zones, federal officials hope to reduce the complexity of the process and to better focus on stopping the spread of the EAB to new areas.
Companies and individuals should also check for and follow any relevant state EAB quarantine regulations, as some states do not plan to follow the new federal EAB policy.
The primary reason for the federal policy change is to allow the government to focus its regulatory efforts on the perimeter of quarantined areas. A complete map of the existing quarantine area is available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/emerald_ash_b/downloads/eab_quarantine_map.pdf.
Expanded Canadian EAB Regulation
Having discovered new infestations of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in 2011, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently expanded the areas covered by its EAB-related restrictions to include new areas of Ontario and Quebec. These rules prohibit the movement of all ash tree materials and all firewood from a regulated area to other areas outside of those zones. This includes ash trees, wood packaging materials with an ash component, ash logs and ash branches, rough ash lumber; ash bark, ash wood chips or bark chips, ash nursery stock, and firewood from all tree species that have not been treated to eliminate the EAB.
Those who move these materials from a regulated area without prior permission from the CFIA could face fines and/or prosecution. Movement restrictions for EAB also apply to vehicles if they are used to transport the regulated articles mentioned above.
New regulated areas includes Manitoulin district in Ontario, and Montréal, Baie-d’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Côte-Saint-Luc, Dollard-Des Ormeaux, Dorval, Hampstead, Kirkland, L’Île-Dorval, Montréal-Est, Montréal-Ouest, Mont-Royal, Pointe-Claire, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Senneville and Westmount in Quebec. The existing regulated area-which had included the city of Ottawa, the united counties of Leeds and Grenville in Ontario and part of the city of Gatineau in Quebec-now also include the united counties of Prescott and Russell in Ontario, and the remaining parts of the city of Gatineau in Quebec. All other areas already regulated for EAB remain unchanged.
According to the CFIA, scientists in Canada and the United States have concluded that EAB cannot be eradicated. As a result, the CFIA has adopted a “slow-the-spread” approach. As part of this approach, the CFIA continues its surveillance of EAB and provides communication, enforcement and regulation across Canada.
Additional information on EAB and related ministerial orders in Canada are available on the CFIA website at www.inspection.gc.ca/pests.