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Clarifying Phyto Requirements for Red Oak to EU

Plant health update for shipments of red oak lumber to the EU

We are aware there is some confusion about whether there are new plant health requirements for shipments of red oak to the EU. This may have come about as a result of announcements at the beginning of the year with regard to the updated Aphis guidance issued through the “USDA PExD” online system. It is also possible (and understandable given the complexity of the rules) that individual interpretation on these rules may vary both within Aphis and by individual plant health authorities in countries within the EU, which may be adding to the confusion.

Our interpretation and guidance for members (based on examination of the latest published guidance from Aphis and communication with EU plant health contacts is as follows:

Plant health requirements for red oak remain essentially unchanged and will be the same requirements that are in place for white oak which are that:

The sawn wood, with or without residual bark attached, has undergone kiln-drying to below 20% moisture content, expressed as a percentage of dry matter, achieved through an appropriate time/temperature schedule, and the wood or its wrapping is marked Kiln-dried or KD or another internationally recognized mark, put on the wood or on any wrapping in accordance with current usage.”

The only difference appears to be the need to now declare on the phyto for red oak that the wood originates from areas free of Phytophyora ramorum and Anoplophora glabripennisIt is our understanding that Phytophtora ramorum appears to be restricted to the western USA and that Anoplophora glabripennis is currently relevant to only three states; NY, Mass and Ohio.

From our understanding, it is unlikely that red oak lumber exported to the EU will originate from an area not free from Phytophthora ramorum and, in any case, the phyto declaration that lumber has undergone a normal kiln drying schedule should be sufficient evidence of appropriate treatment against this pest for wood from these areas.

It is our understanding that red oak lumber from an area not free from Anoplophora glabripennis will need to be debarked (ie no residual bark) as well as declared by Aphis on the phyto that it has been subject to a suitable heat treatment. Again, we believe that proof the lumber has undergone a normal kiln drying schedule should be sufficient, but we recommend that companies check with their local Aphis representative for clarification.

Please be advised that the above guidance is only our best interpretation of the current arrangements that have been agreed between Aphis and EU plant health to regulate the movement of red oak into European markets. We therefore would advise that if companies are still concerned about compliance for their red oak shipments to Europe that they consult with their local Aphis representative and encourage their buyers to consult with the relevant plant health authorities in the country of importation.

AHEC Europe – February 2020

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