Foreign Sellers can No Longer Sell Seeds on Amazon Marketplace

Foreign Sellers can No Longer Sell Seeds on Amazon Marketplace

Amazon.com forbids foreign sales of seeds into the U.S. after thousands of suspicious packets, many postmarked from China, arrived at households around the world this summer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in July identified more than a dozen plant species ranging from morning glories to mustard in the bags of unsolicited seeds. It warned Americans not to plant the seeds.

The move by Amazon comes as the mystery seeds led U.S. officials to raise alarms about the ease with which seed sales can occur on e-commerce sites, creating potential threats to U.S. agriculture. Amazon informed foreign sellers that, effective Sept. 3, it would no longer allow the import of plant or seed products. The ban is effective as per following schedule:

  • September 3, 2020 : For Sellers who fulfill orders themselves (FBM)
  • September 30, 2020 : For Sellers who use Amazon Fulfillment Network, FBA.

Amazon also updated its policy pages to reflect the new policy, saying that importing seeds into the U.S., or the sale of seeds within the U.S. by non-U.S. residents, is prohibited.

The USDA says it has worked with e-commerce companies for years to ensure they include information about USDA regulations on their sites and to remove sellers that illegally shipped agricultural material, including seeds. Since the mysterious mailings, however, the USDA says it has ramped up this work.

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