pbs v. 48. Issue 25 internal postage on seed from abroad

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Wed, 24 Jan 2007 13:09:18 PST
On Jan 24, 2007, at 11:50 AM, Mark Mazer wrote:

>> From the International mail manual of the USPS:
> 720 Plant and Animal Quarantine Inspection
> 721 What Is Subject to Inspection
> All packages that contain plants, plant products, soil, plant pests, 
> plant material used for packing, animals, and animal products and 
> byproducts, including meats, are subject to agricultural quarantine 
> inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (see DMM 601).
> 722 Segregation and Handling
> 722.1 Treatment of Packages Labeled for Inspection
> 722.11 Dispatch of Packages
> Dispatch packages bearing green and yellow or red and white address 
> labels to the Agriculture Department inspection points shown on the 
> labels.
> 722.12 Marking
> After the packages are inspected and cleared, they will be stamped 
> "RELEASED" or "TREATED AND RELEASED," redirected to the addressees, 
> and returned to the mail for delivery.

This statement is not clear as to whether additional postage is 
required. That is one of the issues that both the addressees and APHIS 
are having problems with. The local APHIS station is not equipped to 
handle money in any form. That's why they wanted either actual postage 
stamps or a FedEx account number that they could charge to.
The fact that the agent I talked to (and it was a very pleasant 
conversation--he seems as troubled by the uncertainties that remain in 
this new import method as I am) told me he had called several people 
and departments above his level to find out if there was a final 
resolution to these issues only to discover that it isn't resolved yet, 
tells me there is still a problem.

> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> All it takes is a credit card and ten minutes to apply online with 
> FEDEX for a shipping account number

While this appealed to me as the simplest least problematic method to 
resolve this, FedEx is not really set up to easily or cheaply deliver 
packages locally over short distances. I haven't checked, but I'd be 
surprised if they could deliver the small box of Rachel's seeds from 
the airport to my doorstep for US $1.35 and accomplish this in 24-36 
hours including Saturdays like the postal service can. And what about a 
single envelope of seeds that would only cost US $0.39 for the same 
service? FedEx seems like overkill for seeds, plus they only deliver 
Mon-Fri and they don't have regular daily delivery out to my house.

> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> If your goal is to receive your seeds, call the appropriate APHIS 
> plant inspection station to acertain their current procedures and 
> comply with them rather than complaining and pissing them off

This is exactly what I've done. But even the two agents I spoke with 
realized that the current method is still problematic and certain 
important details have not been resolved, especially the disagreement 
between the USDA and the USPS about final delivery. It's interesting 
that Australia, where they are notorious for charging full price for 
just about every government service, has no problem with continuing 
delivery to the final destination after inspection without any 
additional charges. I think New Zealand does the same. I believe those 
were the two countries that used to have stricter seed import 
regulations that any other country. It seems we could have easily 
adopted their method which seems to work well. (Although I don't like 
the idea of a restrictive "white list" of permissable species rather 
than a black list of prohibited species like we still have.)

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Adam, rather than conjecture, the international postal union 
> regulations are online in PDF form, please download them and provide 
> the appropriate rule to the list so that we may have something 
> concrete to go by.  Will ignore the political BS
> Mark

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