Rules for importing seeds

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 18 Jul 2002 05:11:38 PDT
Dear All,

A number of months ago on the IBS forum some members told us about the USDA draft action plan for noxious weeds. In reading the proposal that Lee Poulsen so kindly made available it seemed there was a recommendation to establish a white or clean list for the United States that would have on it the species of plants allowed into the country. Anything else could not be imported. This would have been a change from the current practice of only prohibiting seeds of plants known to be weeds.  I wrote my Congressman and the agencies suggested to protest the white list and also the new enforcement of phytosanitary certificates for any seeds coming into this country.

My congressman has responded. He said his office had called USDA/APHIS and learned that they had gotten a lot of calls and letters about the plan. He wrote that people were confusing the Safeguarding Review's recommendation of a "clean list" with the USDA's plans and the USDA was not going to adopt this recommendation and things were going to stay as they were. This reinforces an earlier response that I received directly from the USDA.

He also said that he had been told that the APHIS was considering alternatives to requiring phytosanitary certificates for small, non-commercial shipments of seed. This would seem to be very good news for seed exchanges. You all may know this from other lists, but I didn't so am sharing this hopeful news. Perhaps all the protests orchestrated by NARGS and all the letters written will make a difference. Maybe in the future we will be able to share seeds with friends in other countries without worrying about them being seized because there is no certificate.

Mary Sue

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