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13 Feb 2023 - Three Tales from Tea Tree Farmers

The Farmer Magazine Article featuring three of our producers More »»

23 Nov 2021 - Scientists Confirm: Essential Oils Unrelated to Hormone Disruption

Epidemiological Research Debunks the Long-Held Myth That Lavender and Tea Tree Oils Cause Endocrine Disruption in Children. More »»

11 Jun 2021 - Plant Health Australia

Plant Health Australia (PHA) are seeking Non-Executive Directors applications. More »»

19 Mar 2021 - AgriFutures Tea Tree Oil Program Advisory Panel

AgriFutures Australia is seeking to broaden the skillset of its Tea Tree Oil Program Advisory Panel by appointing two new members. More »»

Storage, Packaging & Transport

When tea tree oil is stored or transported ATTIA members take care to ensure that the quality of the oil is not compromised. Producers store the distilled bulk 100% pure Australian tea tree oil under optimal conditions to ensure that there is no degradation of the product prior to packaging for sale. Our research has shown that stainless steel is the best material for containers during storage and transport of tea tree oil. The quality and shelf life of tea tree oil is further enhanced by:

While stainless steel is the best material for storing and shipping pure Australian TTO other packaging is also approved for this purpose: Level 5 fluorinated HDPE containers or Schutz ECOBULK MX 1000 UN Ex EVOH intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and Aluminium flasks with appropriate (teflon) wadding.

Hazard Identification

As part of its responsibility to consumers, the Australian tea tree industry adheres to stringent legal requirements that ensure the quality and safety of its products. For storage and transport in Australia and many export destinations, pure Australian tea tree oil is classified as hazardous under the UN's Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS):

Product Name:                      Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) leaf oil
Other Names:                       Tea Tree Oil, Melaleuca oil, Melaleuca alternifolia oil, Teebaumöl
Recommended Use:              Topical antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent
AHECC Code/Name:              3301.29.60, Essential Oil of Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
UN Proper Shipping Name:   TERPENE HYDROCARBON, N.O.S. (Tea Tree Oil)
UN Number:                          2319
UN Packing Group:                III
GHS Classifications:              Flammable liquid, category 3
                                             Acute toxicity, category 4
                                             Acute inhalation, category 4
                                             Skin irritation, category 2
                                             Aspiration toxicity 1
GHS Pictograms:                   flammable.gif   exclam.gifExploding man.pngAquatic Hazards.jpg

GHS Signal word:                  Warning

Hazard Statements:            Flammable liquid and vapour, Harmful if swallowed
                                            May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways
                                            Causes skin irritation, Harmful if inhaled
                                            Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.

Transport of Flammable Liquids requires the use of an approved flame pictogram:     Transport Flame Pictogram.jpg

A commitment to quality and safety during all phases of the production and marketing of tea tree oil products includes adhering to responsible conditions and procedures during transport. The Australian tea tree industry fully supports these guidelines and regulations.

When pure Australian tea tree oil is bottled for sale to the public in Australia, any quantity greater than 15ml in volume should be bottled in ribbed dark glass bottles and fixed with a child-proof safety cap. Tea tree oil sold in clear glass or plastic bottles of greater than 15ml volume is not 100% tea tree oil. Pure tea tree oil should only be stored in clear glass containers for very limited periods of time, as over-exposure to light will degrade its quality.

Please note that these regulations do not always apply to tea tree oil produced and bottled overseas.

Stability of pure Australian TTO

Although tea tree oil has demonstrated excellent stability for periods in excess of 2 years at temperatures of 40°C in ATTIA approved packaging ATTIA recommends that wherever possible TTO should be stored under stable conditions, preferably at or below 25°C.

Much discussion has occurred over many years on the stability and therefore the ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ date for pure Australian TTO. A body of research data is available on the subject. The answer to an often posed question on the ‘use-by’ date of tea tree oil depends entirely on how it is distilled, stored, handled and transported. Tea tree oil, in the presence of light, air (oxygen) and elevated temperature degrades over time. The  levels of α-terpinene and γ-terpinene decline while the p-cymene and peroxide levels increase. For more information on research into the stability of pure Australian TTO please download the PDF here: "Stability of Pure Australian TTO".

ATTIA recommends that the use-by (best before or expiry) date for pure Australian tea tree oil sold in commercially available small (up to 100 ml) dark glass bottles stored at ambient temperature be set at 12 months (1 year) from when first opened or 24 months (2 years) in unopened bottles.

For bulk storage ATTIA’s Code of Practice d requires producers to use only stainless steel storage and transport vessels and to store the oil in cool, dark conditions with minimum exposure to air. When stored correctly in full containers pure Australian TTO can retain its quality for periods of up to 10 years a although this is not recommended.

ATTIA recommends that the use-by (best before or retest) date for pure Australian tea tree oil sold in correctly filled, purged (Nitrogen or Argon) and tightly sealed COP approved vessels stored at ambient temperature be set at 36 months (3 years) from the filling and sealing date.
If there is any doubt about the quality of pure Australian TTO a sample should be tested according to international standard ISO 4730: 2017  Essential oil of Melaleuca, Terpinen-4-ol type (Tea Tree oil). The levels of terpinen-4-ol, p-cymene, α-terpinene, γ-terpinene and terpinolene can then be used to determine potential levels of oxidation. If there is still doubt then the peroxide value of the oil should also be determined using appropriate analytical standards.

Posting pure Australian TTO

For posting tea tree oil overseas by air, IATA (air transport) regulations state that you can post up to 5 litres of a class 3 flammable material (which is what tea tree oil is). For posting, we suggest using several up to 50ml tamper-proof top, dark glass bottles.  The package must be  lined with plastic (bubble wrap & a 'glad' bag or equivalent) inside a sturdy carton.  You MUST, by law, declare the contents of the package per the label attached.

Australia Post may refuse to carry the oil, especially for outbound (export) shipments, in which case try using a good domestic or international parcel courier.
In most instances Australia Post will deliver TTO that has been sent to Australia from overseas.

TTO Transport by Courier

You are strongly advised to contact and discuss with your chosen domestic or international courier their conditions of carriage for TTO.
TTO is classified as Dangerous Goods (DG) Flammable Class III.

While each courier has different conditions of carriage, as a general rule:

  1. TTO can be shipped using IATA special provision A197 when the volume of a single package does not exceed 5 litres.
  2. The TTO must be packed in a way that will prevent leakage during transit.
  3. A Dangerous Goods Declaration is not required as the shipment is an excepted quantity
  4. A copy of the SDS (this used to be called the MSDS) must be attached to the shipment.
  5. Each box must have an 'Excepted Quantity' label with the correct colour and dimension (minimum 100 mm x 100mm)
  6. The Hazard Class (for TTO this is Class 3) must be written in the Excepted Label.
  7. You MUST be appropriately DG certified to send an Excepted Quantity package.
  8. The name of the shipper or consignee, if not shown elsewhere on the package, must be written on the Excepted label.
  9. The DG certified consignee's mobile number may also be included on the Excepted label.
  10. Each box must have a ‘This Way Up’ Label with the correct colour and dimension (minimum 100 mm x 100mm).
  11. The labels must be on one face of the package only, ie they cannot be folded so that parts of the same label appear on
    different faces of the package.

The images below show a suitable This Way Up label (Left) and an acceptable Excepted Class label (Right).

this way up.jpgExcepted mark.jpg


Page last updated: 24 Jul 2020