COSTCO Package Integrity Testing

Costco Wholesale Package Integrity Testing

The Costco package testing requirements aim to focus on lowering costs and ensuring that products arrive safely. Thus, packages must be engineered to maintain their structural integrity throughout Costco’s entire supply chain. Costco will continually persist in conducting random performance compliance audits to ensure packages meet their specifications. No new items will be brought into the system unless it is compliant with Costco’s packaging requirements.

As an ISTA and ISO 17025 certified lab, we realize the importance of Costco’s new structural specifications. Meeting those requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process. When packages do not meet the requirements, we assist with finding solutions.

Request a quote and find out first hand about our competitive pricing, timely process, and outstanding reputation. Contact us to receive more information on integrity testing.

Summary of Costco Structural Package Testing

According to Costco shipping requirements, packaging must be engineered to comply with ISTA pre-shipment tests Procedure 1A and Procedure 3E. Packages must also be engineered to withstand the following conditions:

  • Long haul transit dynamic load factors
  • Forklift, pallet jack handling and mechanical layer clamping
  • 80-90% high humidity environmental conditions
  • A minimum of four weeks storage time under load weight

Pallet load configurations must be met specifically tailored to the Costco package requirements. This includes pallet loads for corrugated boxes, bagged products and shipping containers not exceeding 2500 lbs. The pallet load must also maximize the packaging area without gaps between units.

ISTA Procedure 1A and Procedure 3E Testing Information

Prior to either test, 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.

ISTA Test Procedure 1A

ISTA 1A covers testing of individually packaged products weighing 150 lb or less when prepared for shipment.

The test procedure consists of both vibration and shock, with the vibration test being fixed displacement. The shock test consists of drop, incline impact, and horizontal impact.

The test sequence protocol for ISTA 1A includes the following:

  • Test Block 1: Atmospheric Preconditioning.
  • Test Block 2: Vibration – Fixed Displacement.
  • Test Block 3: Shock – Drop, Inclined Impact, and Horizontal Impact.

ISTA Test Procedure 3E

ISTA 3E covers the testing of unitized loads, made up of either single or multiple products or packages of the same products.

The ISTA 3E procedure evaluates the protective performance of packaged products related to vibrations, shocks, and other stresses normally encountered during handling and transportation. It can also be used to evaluate load stability.

The test sequence protocol for ISTA 3E includes the following:

  • Test Block 1: Atmospheric Preconditioning.
  • Test Block 2: Atmospheric Conditioning.
  • Test Block 3: Shock – Inclined Impact, Horizontal Impact, and Rotational Edge Drop.
  • Test Block 4: Shock – Rotational Edge Drop
  • Test Block 5: Compression – Machine Apply and Release, Machine Apply and Hold, and Weight and Load Spreader
  • Test Block 6: Vibration – Random
  • Test Block 7: Shock – Rotational Edge Drop

Significance of Costco Structural Packaging Specifications

Costco merchandises inventory on 48” x 40” pallets. These pallet loads are moved by forklifts or pallet jacks. Packaging must be display-ready, with no handling required. If a package is non-compliant, the item is at risk of deletion, or, may be subjected to a 2% chargeback.

Costco package test goal is to drive out costs by eliminating extra packaging, handling, and corrugated waste. It is a requirement of doing business with Costco that the trays required to transport goods are useful in every way. These trays include functional boxes for members to carry out their purchases. By subjecting packaging materials to rigorous testing procedures, manufacturers can identify vulnerabilities and make necessary improvements to minimize the risk of product damage, thereby upholding the highest standards of quality.

Keystone Provides Expert Structural Packaging and Transportation Testing

Keystone Package Testing strives to give our customers more time and energy on product development instead of testing. In addition to ISTA 1A and 3E testing, Keystone has a full scope of expertise including accelerated aging, cold chain, and leak penetration.

Request a quote to learn first hand why so many companies partner with Keystone to achieve their transportation and package certification needs. Have a question about Costco packaging tests? Contact us or call at (724) 657 9940


Looking to certify your package to other eCommerce standards? Visit the following:


Interested in the EMC/EMIclimaticdynamicshielding effectiveness, or IP Code testing of a product? Follow the corresponding links or for more information.