Amazon has decided to ban foreign sales of seeds in the United States after thousands of people reported receiving suspicious packages of seeds. Many of the packages arrive at households were postmarked from China. The decision was taken after US officials raise alarms about how easily seed sales can take place on e-commerce sites. Officials warned about the potential threats to US agriculture following which Amazon decided only to allow sales of seeds from sellers based in America. The online retail giant Amazon has informed foreign sellers that they would no longer be allowed to import plants or seed products from September 3. According to an email, some overseas sellers on Amazon would have their offers removed the same day.
Some reports claimed that the policy change took place on Wednesday but was made public on Saturday. The public rulebook of Amazon has also been updated and it says that the sale of seeds within the US and importing seeds into the US by people who are not residents of the United States is prohibited. Amazon said that the change in policy is part of an ongoing effort to protect its customers and enhance customer experience. Off late, thousands of people in the US received seed they did not order. Countries like Canada and the United Kingdom are some other countries that are witnessing the same phenomenon.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has urged people not to plant these seeds and is investigating the origin of these packets. From morning glories to mustard, over a dozen plant species have been identified by them. A deputy administrator for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had said that no major problem was found with the seed. Osama El-Lissy said the agency is closely working with Beijing to investigate their origin. The USDA also said it could be part of a ‘brushing scam,’ which is when unwanted items are sent by seller and false customer reviews to boost sales.