Amazon is banning the sale of foreign seeds in the United States after “unsolicited packages” were sent to thousands across North America.
The online retail giant said the ban also applied to plants in an emailed statement to Reuters. Global News has reached out to Amazon for comment on whether the ban extends to Canada.
“Moving forward, we are only permitting the sale of seeds by sellers who are based in the U.S.,” the statement to Reuters said.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Wednesday that as of Aug. 31, they had collected 8,507 packages from all 50 states.
“We’ve completed examinations of 2,410 of those packets and identified a total of 321 different species of seed. Overall, we have not found anything of major concern,” they said.
In an online statement Aug. 12, they said the seeds appeared to be coming from China.
“At this time, we don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a ‘brushing scam’ where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales,” the statement read.
Osama El-Lissy, deputy administrator with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said Aug. 11 that two of the seeds were considered to be noxious weeds, “but other than that, we have not found anything alarming.”
The mysterious seeds started making their rounds in Canada over the summer.
In August, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it received reports from more than 750 people who claimed they were mailed seeds.
They urged Canadians refrain from planting seeds with “unknown origins” in a statement online.
“Unauthorized seeds could be the seeds of invasive plants, or carry plant pests, which can be harmful when introduced into Canada,” the statement read.
“These species can invade agricultural and natural areas, causing serious damage to our plant resources.”
More to come.
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