- On September 16, 2020
In response to the recent influx of unsolicited seed shipments into the U.S., Amazon has announced that effective September 3, the company will remove listings for live plants and seeds for planting that are offered and fulfilled by non-U.S. residents; and beginning on September 30, it will remove listings for live plants and seeds for planting that are offered by non-U.S. residents who are using Fulfillment by Amazon and have an inventory in one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers. It is expected that other e-commerce companies will follow Amazon’s lead.
ASTA staff recently met with APHIS officials to receive an update on the investigation into the issue of unsolicited seed shipments. APHIS is aware of more than 20,000 reports of people receiving unsolicited seed shipments, and the agency has received more than 10,000 packages for testing. To date, more than 3,000 packages have been tested and more than 4,000 different types of seed have been identified. APHIS has confirmed that over 95% of the packages came from China.
During the ongoing testing process, APHIS has identified a number of seed types, primarily including: fruits, vegetables and herbs, in addition to some ornamentals and weeds. Pospiviroids, potato spindle tuber viroid, larvae of various beetles, and some noxious weeds have also been identified.
ASTA is continuing to stay in close contact with APHIS and international counterparts as the situation evolves. For more information or questions, please reach out to Ric Dunkle.