Mystery Seeds Still Under Microscope

The fact that numerous packages showed up during a pandemic when people had a heightened sense of wariness added to the drama.

Plants and seeds purchased online from other countries have the potential to be a risk to U.S. agriculture, Plant Protection and Quarantine Program Deputy Administrator Osama El-Lissy confirmed in a news release. Beyond concerns that the plants might be invasive or noxious, insects and pathogens are also able to hitchhike and multiply on plant material.

“We’ve been working closely with e-commerce companies and other federal partners to stop the flow of illegal plant and seed shipments from entering the country,” El-Lissy said.

A special website has been established to provide guidance on buyer and seller responsibilities. It outlines required documents, such as import permits and phytosanitary certificates; provides information on plant and seed species that have additional import requirements; and makes clear which types of plants and seeds are not allowed to be imported into the United States. Find it here:….

APHIS has also reported that it is working with e-commerce companies to remove the online sellers that are participating in the illegal import of propagative materials, including seeds. The agency has also been working with e-commerce companies to ensure they, and the sellers who use their platforms, are complying with USDA import regulations.

“We are thankful to the public for reporting the seeds and getting them to USDA officials so that we could investigate them and avoid introducing foreign pests into our environment,” El-Lissy added.

Find the news release regarding mystery seeds here:….

Earlier DTN stories on this topic can be accessed here:… and….

Pamela Smith can be reached at

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