By Brian (Ruibo) Wu
Earlier this week, Amazon’s spokesman announced that the company has changed its foreign sales of seeds policy and that the shipment of unsolicited packets of seeds in the mail to the U.S. is banned due to biosafety concerns. In the future, Amazon will only allow the sale of seeds by sellers based in the U.S. The packages are believed to be one of the first steps of Amazon’s global standardizing scam in order to gain positive feedback for its online selling website.
Moreover, according to Amazon’s new guidelines, it also prohibits the sales of seeds within the United States by non-U.S. residents. The most severe consequence may be that sellers will be banned if they do not follow the new regulation.
Among the mysterious packages discovered, at least 14 plant species have been identified, including mint, lavender, and roses. Unsolicited seed packages have also long been reported in many other countries, including the UK, Australia, and many EU nations. Last month, the Scottish authorities coincidentally advised people not to handle unidentified seeds, for fearing that they could damage local ecosystems as invasive species.
In an update on August 11, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated that experts analyzing the seeds found few problems with them and that many exporting countries such as China were assisting with investigations.
The U.S. officials have suggested that gardeners should not plant seeds of unknown origin and gene mutation. The USDA, for example, has warned people against planting the foreign seeds, saying they could be non-native species or carry pests and diseases.
In addition to biosafety and corporate image, Amazon’s new policy is also based on the fact that many sellers have been sending out low-value items such as seeds to quickly generate as many online reviews and turnovers that appear to provide consumers with inaccurate information and boost the seller’s legitimacy.
News of the policy change was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and the BBC news.