JIS News

Wood packaging material coming into Jamaica must bear the mark of compliance with the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15), signifying that they have been treated for pests, as of next January.
Chief Plant Quarantine Produce Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sheila Harvey, told the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s Ninth Annual Customs seminar, at the Wyndham Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (November 2) that the ministry will adopt these international guidelines as of January 1, 2011.
ISPM 15, a standard of guidelines for regulating wood packing material, was developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to directly address the need to treat wood materials of a thickness greater than six millimetres, used to ship products between countries.
Its main purpose is to prevent the international transport and spread of diseases and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems. ISPM 15 covers all wood packaging material, namely pallets, crates and dunnages (waste material used to protect cargo), requiring that they be debarked and heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide, and stamped or branded with a mark of compliance.
Products exempted from the ISPM 15 are made from alternative material, like paper, plastic or wood panel products such as hardboard and plywood.
“What is happening is that, since 2005, most countries adopted ISPM 15, whereby if you are trading with the United States, Mexico, Canada, you would have to treat your packaging material before it leaves (your country),” Mrs. Harvey explained.
She said that it was important that the wood packaging materials are treated, as most things that are imported come on pallets, and untreated pallets can transfer unwanted pests.
“We have been doing our surveillance over the last year, and we have been finding a whole lot of pests coming in on pallets, and you might go to a warehouse and you find all the pallets in there infested,” she said, noting that this can be transferred to other locations and infest furniture and other materials.
“There are several pests that we would not like to come to Jamaica, for example, the Asian long-horned beetle, that created havoc in Canada, the pine shoot beetle and the emerald ash borer – all those are deadly, wood-borne pests that we don’t want here in Jamaica,” she stressed.
Mrs. Harvey noted that if wood packing materials are not treated when they arrive in Jamaica, the Ministry will have to hold the shipment. The pallets will then either be treated or destroyed or exporters requested to re-export.
“If it comes in with a pest that we don’t have in Jamaica, we wouldn’t even try to run the risk of saying we are going to move it, take it somewhere else to treat it. We’ll just probably contain it and ask that you re-export it. If we should have to confiscate your pallets, there are two methods that we’ll use to destroy it and this will be at your own cost. It will either be incineration or burial, and this will be supervised by Plant Quarantine Officers,” she said.