According to a weekend report in the Wall Street Journal, Amazon has informed foreign seed sellers that beginning Sept. 3, it would no longer allow the import of plant or seed products into the U. S.
In that same vein, Amazon also stated that it would not allow the sale of seeds within the U. S. by non-U. S. residents. “Moving forward, we are only permitting the sale of seeds by sellers who are based in the U. S. ,” an Amazon spokesperson told the Journal in a statement.
Additionally, in an email to foreign seed sellers read by the Journal, Amazon purportedly stated that its new policy was “part of our ongoing efforts to protect our customers and enhance the customer experience.
USDA officials are worried that the seeds could introduce invasive species, pests or diseases into the U. S. that could harm the agriculture industry, per the Journal.
Despite the finding of some noxious weeds and plant diseases, authorities do not believe that the seeds were sent to attack the U. S. agriculture industry.
Amazon, for its part, denied that the seed deliveries were part of a brushing scam, according to the Journal, and said they were legitimate orders delayed because of the pandemic.
The Journal affirms that the agency has found several seeds of noxious weeds, including dodder and water spinach.
Osama El-Lissy, a deputy administrator for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the agency had received about 20,000 reports of unwanted seeds.
Some people are apparently using Amazon to send thousands of seeds to recipients that didn’t order them in the U. S.
El-Lissy says the USDA is still very concerned that one or more of the mysterious seed packages could contain a threat that could affect U. S. agriculture.
This is more concerning than it sounds, and has prompted a stern response from Amazon: No more seeds from foreign sellers.
Once it collects the seeds, the USDA sends them to botanists to analyze whether any of them are on the federal list of noxious weeds.