ISTA and ISTA Procedures/Projects do not dictate what constitutes a pass and fail result. All of the Procedures and Projects conain a section like the following (this is from Procedure 1A):
"The shipper shall determine the following prior to testing:
* what constitutes damage to the product and
* what damage tolerance level is allowable, if any, and
* the correct methodology to determine product condition at the conclusion of the test and
* the acceptable package condition at the conclusion of the test.
For additional information on this determination process refer to the "Guidelines for Selecting and Using ISTA Procedures and Projects". (click here to download the Guidelines)
Notice that the statement above says "the shipper shall determine...". This is further amplified by a section in the referenced Guidelines as follows:
"PRODUCT DAMAGE TOLERANCE AND PACKAGE DEGRADATION ALLOWANCE Before testing begins, a determination must be made as to the damage to the product and any allowable change in package condition. These determinations are made to allow the evaluation of packaged-product specimens after performance of all tests, and assignment of pass or fail results. When possible, these determinations should be quantitative in nature to minimize results interpretation. Use of product quality standards, user acceptability information, and other data is encouraged.
ISTA intentionally does not specify what constitutes product damage and package degradation. These determinations are dependant upon the particular product, package, distribution system, market, customers, and other facctors and can vary widely. Therefore product damage and allowable package degradation must be defined by the shipper, manufacturer, damage claim group, and/or other stakeholders and interested parties. In most cases, the shipper/product manufacturer is in the best position to define product damage due to detailed familiarity with the product. Sometimes others may contribute to these determinations including carriers and test lab personnel. But in any case, definition and agreement should be reached cooperatively among all entities concerned with safe arrival of the shipment, low damage rates, cost effective packaging, etc."
After testing, the PDT/PDA will be used by the lab to determine whether the item tested passed or failed the test. If, after testing, there is addtional information known and the customer (Shipper) wishes to change their definition of damage, they can do so. However, it is strongly cautioned that any changes made should be well documented in the test report, including written notification from the customer that the PDT/PDA has changed, a justificaiton for the change, and approval of the final results. There is a comments sectionin all ISTA test report form templates - this section should be used for any advice or opinion from the lab based on the testing and results.
The ultimate decision regarding damage, and therefore the criteria to judge pass or fail, is the Shippers.
Click here for additional information about PDT/PDA.
Source: ISTA Staff