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Mystery seeds no more? Amazon bans foreign seeds, plants sales as investigation over mysterious packages continues

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After thousands of Americans received mysterious packages of seeds unsolicited from China this summer, Amazon has changed its policy to ban sales of plants and seeds imported from outside of the U.S.

The plants and seeds’ seller policy was updated Sept. 2, according to the company’s website, and was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. As part of the change, sales of seeds, plant products and plants by non-U.S. residents are prohibited.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, Postal Service and other state and federal agencies are investigating the mysterious seed packages along with online retailers, the USDA said.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says as of Aug. 31, it collected 8,507 packages from 50 states and “completed examinations of 2,410 of those packets and identified a total of 321 different species of seed.”

In a statement to USA TODAY Sunday, Amazon said “Moving forward, we are only permitting the sale of seeds by sellers who are based in the U.S.”
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On Amazon’s updated seller policy, the retail giant said sellers “must comply with all applicable federal laws when selling plant and seed products. You must also comply with state and local laws applicable to the jurisdiction into which your products are sold as well as the jurisdiction from which you ship.”

The policy also notes “plants, plant products and seeds may not be imported from outside of the United States.”