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Heat Treat Compliance

Third-party inspectors audit and certify annually to provide heat-treated pallets (HT pallets) for export in compliance with IPPC’s ISPM 15 requirements. ISPM 15 rules and regulations are well known to our staff. By keeping you informed of any changes to international regulations that may affect your shipments, we can ensure that your shipment meets all necessary international regulations.

Export heat treatment

Before exporting pallets, crates, or wood pieces, heat treatment is used to kill any living organisms. The topic of heat treating pallets for export will be discussed as well as when, how and what kinds of pallets should be heat treated. 

What is a Heat Treated Pallet? 

International Plant Protection Convention: The Food and Agriculture Organization established the International Plant Protection Convention in order to establish global standards for plant health. Pallets are referred to in this resolution as ISPM-15. 

When shipping products overseas, wood with a thickness greater than 6 millimeters needs to be heat treated in accordance with ISPM-15.


When do you need to HT Pallets?

 A heat treatment stamp must be applied to all types of wood, whether it is new, recycled, reused, repaired, single pieces, bundles, single pieces, bundles – all can be treated.


What are the benefits of heat treating pallets? 

In heat treatment, bugs and living organisms are killed so that they will not be given a free international cruise or flight, bringing their illnesses and diseases with them. A pallet is not made stronger or more durable by heat treating, it is only protected from insects by this process. 


Other Alternatives 

  • Anything less than 6mm
  • Insect-killing wood, such as cigar or wine boxes,
  • Glued, veneered, or processed strand board wood
  • With a valid certification stamp, a previously heat treated pallet that has not been repaired, remanufactured, or altered in any way
  • Items made of corrugated plastic, corrugated metal, and other non-wood materials 


Heat Treating Process

A pallet must be appropriately debarked, regardless of whether it is a new pallet or a recycled pallet. Approximately the size of a credit card, small isolated pieces of bark with a surface area less than 50mm are allowed.

Pallets, crates, and dunnage pieces are debarked and placed in the heat treater for 30 minutes at 56 Celsius 132.8 Farenheit. Heat treat stamps can only be applied after that.  

Heat-treated pallets should retain their heat treat status indefinitely if no structural changes are made to them. 

Wood Pallet Stamp Types

The wheat stamp indicates compliance with IPPC, and it will appear to the left of the rest of the information

There are always two letters in the country code of the country of origin  

Treatment provider / producer: This is a combination of digits or letters that uniquely identifies the provider

There is either an “HT” or “MB” mark on the material to indicate whether it has been heat-treated or methyl bromide-treated

Stamp information includes the inspection agency in the US 


If a stamp is to be exported, it must be: Durable, Legible, Visible when in use without aides, and stamped with black ink, since red or orange is often used to indicate harmful products. The packaging item may be confiscated by export authorities if the mark does not meet these criteria. 

Alternative methods for export 

The only way to export wood without changing its composition is to fumigate it using methyl bromide. A pallet that is fumigated soaks up all the gaseous methyl bromide for four to 24 hours in a gas chamber.


Warnings to look out for  

There have been some cases where pallet companies have been caught with expired or suspended heat treating licenses, so it is a good idea to obtain a copy of the heat treat certificate issued by the company’s inspection agency if you have any questions or suspicions about their heat treating process. By doing so, the agency will have a better chance of verifying or denying the validity of the questionable heat treatment process. Something may be wrong if a company is hesitant or slow to release their certification. 

The letters “HT” might appear on some pieces, but if they are missing the complete mark, like we discussed earlier, they cannot be exported.  

The use of heat treatment is an excellent method of exporting a product. The use of heat treatment is regulated, so make sure your packaging company follows the rules. When the homework is completed and the documentation is in place, have fun exporting!