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Acceptable Alternative Phytosanitary Treatments For Wood Packaging Materials And Other Wood Commodities

Wood pallets

Wood pallets

Introductory

The wood products industry will continue to request critical use exemptions for methyl bromidge (MeBr)fumigation of wood packaging materials (WPM) and other wood commodities as long as acceptable alternative treatments are unavailable, ineffective, or cost prohibitive.

Our research provided the necessary data to obtain approval of dielectric heating (DH), which includes radio-frequency (RF) and microwave (MW), as the first alternative to MeBr under International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures 15 (ISPM-15).

Because WPM is associated with most global merchandise trade, ISPM-15 affects more trade by volume than any other phytosanitary measure. However, the current language in ISPM-15 for DH includes restrictions on treatment load (< 20 cm) and time to complete treatment (within 30 minutes).

These restrictions are unnecessary and cost prohibitive for application of RF foreconomical bulk treatment of WPM.

Goal and objectives

The long-term goal of our team is to expedite adoption of RF technology as a long-term solution to reducing MeBr use for phytosanitary treatment of wood packaging by delivering economically competitive treatment schedules.

To meet our goal we are working to:

  • Demonstrate that RF heating under commercial conditions effectively treats WPM >20 cm in size
  • Show that treatment efficacy is not reduced when treatment time >30 minutes
  • Conduct comparative economic analyses of RF heating with and without current treatment restrictions and in comparison to MeBr and conventional heat treatment
  • Educate and promote adoption of RF through our Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Extension activities

Working with our U.S. National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of the US Department of Agriculture, we will support Submission of documentation to the IPPC to remove the above restrictions for RF under ISPM-15. Our goal and objectives are summarized in the following figure.