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Heat treated pallets: the proper way to sterilize wood pallets

“ISPM 15 is an International Phytosanitary Measure developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), that directly addresses the need to treat wood materials of a thickness greater than 6mm, used to ship products between countries.[…] ISPM 15 affects all wood packaging material (wood pallets, wood crates, etc.) requiring that they be debarked and then heat treated or fumigated […] and stamped or branded, with a mark of compliance.” [1]


Until March of 2010, there were two forms of sterilization used in order to make wood pallets comply with the ISPM 15 exportation norms: chemical fumigation and heat treatment [2].


Recall of pharmaceutical products

On July 12, 2010, it was reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was recalling the following over-the-counter medicines: Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl [3]; these medications were being recalled as a safety measure as it was discovered that the products had been shipped by the manufacturer, McNeil, on wooden pallets, or stored in wooden crates, which had been treated with a fungicide.


This same fungicide had led to a vast recall earlier this year following complaints from consumers stating that certain medication packages had a musty odour to them.  This odour was later associated to minute amounts of tribromoanisole (TBA), a fungicide that is used to clean and sterilize the wooden pallets on which these over-the-counter products were shipped. It is mentioned in the news report that the medications in question had been manufactured prior to the initial recall in January of this year.


According to the FDA, the medications that are implicated in the current recall had been sent to the United States, Fiji, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.


Chemical fumigation

In order to comply with exportation standardizations, wood pallets must be fumigated, often using methyl bromide; this method was used up until recently, it was banned in March 2010.


Heat treatment and heat treated pallets

In this method of sterilization treatment, the wood pallets or wood crates are heated in order to reach a core temperature of at least 56 °C (132.8 °F) for a minimum of 30 minutes.



L.C.N. inc. was the first North American wood pallets manufacturer to offer heat treated pallets. We guarantee that our products meet the strictest cleanliness and sterilization standards as required in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

For more information visit LCN-PAL, custom wood crates and wood pallet manufacturers and heat treated pallets.




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L.C.N inc.
1180, Route 243, C.P. 210
Saint-Félix-de-Kingsey (Québec)

Telephone: 819 848-2521
fax: 819 848-2424
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