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20 Mar 2020 - Factsheet - Tea Tree Oil Antiviral Properties March 2020

In response to the current coronavirus outbreak the ATTIA Board have approved the release of a Factsheet to help anyone interested to have access to research conducted on the antiviral properties of TTO. More »»

01 Jan 2020 - Biosecurity Plan for the Tea Tree Industry

A Biosecurity Plan for the Tea Tree Industry has been prepared and released by Plant Health Australia. More »»

01 Nov 2019 - Essential Oils of the Pacific: Australian Tea Tree

CNN have recently released a video titled 'Essential Oils of the Pacific: Australian Tea Tree'. Please share this as widely as possible and help get the message out there. More »»

18 Aug 2019 - Future Drought Fund

The Australian Government has committed $3.9 billion to the Future Drought Fund; public consultation. To help design the Drought Resilience Funding Plan, register for the upcoming consultation. 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).

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
                                             Mildly irritating to eyes, category 2B
                                             Irritating to skin, category 2
GHS Pictograms:                   flammable.gif   exclam.gif

GHS Signal word:                  Warning
Hazard Statements:             Flammable liquid and vapour, Harmful if swallowed,
                                             Causes eye irritation, Causes skin irritation.

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, 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

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: 2017 or the identical Australian standard AS 2782: 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 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: 13 Feb 2017