Amazon.com Inc. is barring 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 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, according to an email viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The email said some overseas sellers would have their offers removed from Amazon the same day.
Amazon also updated its public rulebook 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.
On Saturday, a merchant based in East Asia who sells Chinese seeds to Amazon customers in the U.S. said that his product had been removed by Amazon.