Mysterious seeds

E-commerce giant Amazon banned foreign sales of seeds in U.S. after thousands of U.S. residents received unsolicited seed packages this summer.

Online retail giant Amazon has banned foreign sales of seeds in the U.S. after thousands of Americans nationwide received unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail, primarily from China.

The company informed foreign sellers last week that, effective immediately, it would no longer allow plant seed products to be imported. Non-U.S. residents within the U.S. are also not permitted to sell seeds in America.

Amazon made its move after U.S. officials expressed concern about how easy it is for seed sales to take place on e-commerce sites, potentially threatening U.S. agriculture with possible invasive species or pathogens.

The concern about foreign seeds was sparked this summer when residents across the U.S. received mysterious seed packages, labeled as though from China, Uzbekistan, the Solomon Islands, the United Arab Emirates and Kyrgyzstan.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Cecilia Sequeira, the agency suspects the packages are part of a global “brushing scam,” which involves sellers sending people low-value items. Each fake “sale” then generates an online review that appears to boost the seller’s legitimacy.

Although USDA analysts have said the seed samples appeared benign — including varieties like cabbage, rosemary, mustard and basil — officials warned residents not to plant the seeds and to report them to the agency.

Amazon has not yet confirmed to the Capital Press whether its decision last week was prompted by this global seed mystery, but Amazon’s move appears to be in response.

Last Thursday, Amazon updated its public rulebook with the new policy, which now states that importing seeds to the U.S., or the sale of seeds within the U.S. by non-U.S. residents, is not permitted.

“Moving forward, we are only permitting the sale of seeds by sellers who are based in the U.S.,” Amazon spokeswoman Mary Kate McCarthy told the Capital Press on Tuesday.

According to a company statement released to the Capital Press, Amazon will subject any sellers who don’t follow these guidelines to action, including potential removal of their account.

McCarthy declined to answer the Capital Press’ question about whether the ban will extend to other countries.

McCarthy also declined to comment on the scale of foreign seed sales via its website prior to the ban.

(1) comment


IDC Việt Nam là 1 trong số ít các đơn vị thi công nhà lắp ghép chất lượng cao, được ghi nhận bởi nhiều giải thưởng từ nhà nước. Nhà lắp ghép giá rẻ tương đối so với nhà thông thường, với mức giá phổ biến như: nhà lắp ghép 100 triệu. IDC Việt Nam cam kết xây dựng nhà lắp ghép giá rẻ, nhanh, chắc chắn và đảm bảo tính thẩm mỹ chung.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.