The policy change, instated on Sept. 3, comes after “thousands” of seed packets were delivered to U.S. mailboxes over the summer, with many postmarked from China. The report notes that it is believed the mystery mailings are part of a “brushing” scam, which aims to artificially inflate a seller’s visibility on algorithm-driven ecommerce websites like Amazon.
The online retail giant confirmed in a Saturday report from the Wall Street Journal that U.S. customers are no longer allowed to import foreign seeds or plants. Amazon will still sell seeds to people in the U.S., but only if the seller is based there.
Amazon has a new rule in place governing seed and plant imports for U.S. customers: Nope.
The only catch to that concerns non-U.S. residents: If you sell seeds or plants outside the U.S., you can’t come into the country just to sell them inside the country. It might be a trickier thing for Amazon to police, but it’s the rule all the same.
China is also looking for answers since “most” of the packages, which also popped up in Canada and the U.K., bore postmarks from there. China’s Foreign Ministry determined over the summer that the mailing labels the country’s investigators had reviewed were forgeries.
It’s illegal to import plants and seeds from overseas into the U.S. without the appropriate paperwork indicating they’re pest-free. Just because it’s easy to buy them online, does not mean they’re safe and you, the buyer, are responsible for checking the origin and import requirements.
It’s The Law
1.Check whether you need an import permit for the plants or seeds you wish to bring in. If required, apply for and get an import permit from APHIS, which specifies the import requirements before the plant or seed species is allowed entry into the country.