Good news to wooden pallet and crate makers near Laguna: the Department of Science and Technology’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute’s (DOST-FPRDI) heat treatment facility is now accredited by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) of the Department of Agriculture.
The facility uses heat in a kiln dryer to kill insect pests infesting wooden pallets and other packaging materials, making it an effective deterrent to the spread of diseases across national borders.
DOST-FPRDI’s Engr. Wency H. Carmelo explained: “To guarantee that invasive insects and diseases are not passed on from one country to another in the global market, the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures [ISPM] 15 requires producers of wooden packaging materials to disinfect their pallets and crates. They can do this either through heat treatment [HT] or methyl bromide [MB] fumigation.”
Carmelo said heat treatment “is a safer and cheaper means of sterilizing wooden packaging materials compared to MB fumigation.”
She added that “high amounts of MB can be fatal and are very damaging to the ozone layer. Heat treatment, on the other hand, is relatively harmless and about 50 percent cheaper.”
The ISPM implements very strict policies as insect pests and diseases transported through global trade have been known to cause massive environmental damage.
In the midwestern US, for instance, these “agents of destruction” have once taken over forests and wiped out entire tree species.
According to Carmelo, through the accreditation of its heat treatment technology, DOST-FPRDI is able to support the country’s export industry as it gives wooden pallet makers an effective, safe and affordable way to meet global sanitary standards.