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ACQ 2016-1

Mould Growth on Heat Treated Pallets

Heat treated dunnage was often found to have mould problems. Stevedores in Philadelphia have not been willing to handle cargo that has been in contact with the mould, causing significant delays and increased costs related to retaining environmental remediation companies to assist with the discharge.

Many customers of heat treated pallets believe that the heat sterilization process not only eliminates insects in the wood but also prevents mould. While the heat sterilization process does kill mould, it does not prevent further potential for mould growth. In fact, heat sterilization can actually lead to ideal mould growing conditions.

To prevent mould it is vital to keep the moisture content of the surface of wood to no more than 20%. This typically means the average moisture content of the pallet should be in the range of 30-35%. This could be achieved by many ways in treatment process and this moisture content must be maintained throughout shipping and storage.

Source: The UK Club Bulletin 454