In November 2012 Jerome Chopard presented "IMPROVED IDENTIFICATION METHODS FOR AUSTRALIAN TEA TREE OIL" to the IFEAT International Conference. More »»
Agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and building soil carbon in the tea tree industry will be the subject of a collaborative research program between Southern Cross University and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. More »»
Local agribusinesses and their industry associations are backing a scheme to train and recruit local people specifically for their industry. More »»
Lavender, eucalyptus and tea-tree oils have come under the microscope at Charles Sturt University's School of Animal and Veterinary Science, where PhD student Lynne Appleby is researching their effect on mastitis-causing bacteria. More »»
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:
For short-term storage of bulk tea tree oil prior to bottling or processing, quality can be maintained with 'just in time' packaging such as dark glass or fluorinated HDPE 20 or 25 litre kegs.
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 Oil
Other Names: 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)
GHS Classification: Flammable liquids cat. 3, Acute Toxicity cat. 4; Eye irritation cat. 4
GHS Signal word: Warning
Hazard Statements: Flammable liquid and vapour, Harmful if swallowed, Causes serious eye irritation
Transport of Flammable Liquids requires the use of an approved flame pictogram:
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, 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.
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) date for pure Australian tea tree oil sold in commercially available small (up to100 ml) dark glass bottles stored at an ambient temperature not exceeding 25 C be set at 6 months 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) date for pure Australian tea tree oil sold in correctly filled, purged (Nitrogen or Argon) and tightly sealed stainless steel drums stored at an ambient temperature not exceeding 25 C be set at 3 years from the filling date.
If there is any doubt about the quality of pure Australian TTO a sample should be tested according to international standard ISO 4730 (2004) or the identical Australian standard AS 2782-2009 ("Oil of Melaleuca, Terpinen-4-ol type"). 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.
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 50ml tamper-proof top, dark glass bottles. The package must be lined with plastic (bubble wrap & a 'glad' bag or equivalent) inside a sturdy envelope or carton. You MUST, by law, declare the contents of the package per the label attached.
Australia Post may refuse to carry the oil, in which case try using a good international parcel courier.
Page last updated: 23 May 2012