iGPS released a statement today praising a notice in the Federal Register from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The USDA announced its intent to hold four public meetings “to discuss mitigation measures that could be applied to wood packaging material (e.g., crates, dunnage, wooden spools, pallets, packing blocks) used in domestic commerce to decrease the risk of the artificial spread of plant pests, such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle,” according to the Aug. 17 edition of the Federal Register.
Referencing a threat to U.S. agriculture and natural, cultivated and urban forests, the USDA indicated it would also hold a public meeting to develop a federal firewood strategy to reduce the spread of plant pests through the movement of firewood.
The meetings concerning wood packaging material will be held on Aug. 27 in Washington; on Sept. 2 in Portland, Ore.; on Sept. 15 in Houston; and on Sept. 29 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Insect infestation is one of several issues I referenced in my letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requesting a comprehensive investigation into the use of wood pallets to store and ship food,” says Bob Moore, chairman and CEO of iGPS. “I commend USDA for taking the initiative.”
“It is a well established fact that wood pallets are susceptible to insect infestation due to the porous nature of wood,” Moore adds. “Insects such as the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle are readily transported to every state in America by the millions upon millions of wood pallets that are used extensively in interstate commerce. This poses a serious threat to U.S. agriculture and forests.
“Plastic pallets are a safer, more environmentally friendly substitute for wood pallets in interstate commerce,” he adds. “We pledge our full support and cooperation to the USDA as it gathers public comment on alternatives to wood pallets.”