Importing seeds - best experience so far

Thu, 08 Mar 2007 08:03:18 PST
This seed import program is still a mess. The instructions say that it is 
illegal to put the final destination address on the outside of the parcel. 
My last attempt went the "legal" way. I got a call from the LAX station two 
weeks ago and responded with my FedX number and a contact phone number. I 
never got the seeds and I never heard from them again. I give up! Government 
1, People 0.  I thought of getting Congress involved in these issues but we 
are a tiny minority with zero clout.  Now, if I were Monsanto, or ADM, I 
could really threaten the environment by spreading GM seed strains with 
complete impunity.

Richard Wagner
Vista, CA

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lee Poulsen" <>
To: "PBS Society" <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2007 9:33 PM
Subject: [pbs] Importing seeds - best experience so far

> Over the years I've gotten seeds from overseas from various
> countries. In the "old days" they were addressed to me and came
> directly to me every time, no problems. After a phyto suddenly became
> required, only a very very very few sources could or would go through
> the steps to do it properly. Most places and people, even reputable
> longtime sources of seeds ignored the new requirements at that time,
> and I never had any package confiscated. Ever since the new small
> lots of seeds permits came into effect (no longer requiring a phyto),
> I've basically had two different kinds of experiences so far.
> Either the sender pasted the required import permit label on the
> outside of the envelope or package AND wrote my address on the
> outside (which the label instructions specifically state should NOT
> be done), in which case the packages came directly to me and were
> never stopped or inspected,
> Or the sender pasted the label on the outside of the package and did
> NOT write my address on the outside of the package, in which case the
> packages (in my case) all were delivered directly to the APHIS/PPQ
> inspection station near the LAX airport. In every case I've gotten a
> phone call from them telling me the seeds were cleared for release
> and I could come pick them up between 8 am and 4:30pm Monday through
> Friday only and not between noon and 1:00 pm either after driving
> directly across most of Los Angeles and then trying to drive back,
> during work and hoping not to hit traffic somewhere. Or I could give
> them a FedEx charge number or I could send them actual postage stamps
> for the correct domestic postage to get it mailed across town. No
> cash and no credit cards could be accepted. I usually had a friend
> who lives nearby go and pick them up and I could pick them up from my
> friend later in the evening after the traffic had dissipated. I
> believe that the reason the label specifies that the final
> destination address NOT be placed on the outside of the package was
> precisely because of what usually happens which is what I described
> that happened to me. Which means incoming packages never get
> intercepted to be inspected.
> However, today I received a package of seeds from Australia that had
> the label pasted on the outside AND my address written on the outside
> as well. This time, however, it went to the inspection station, they
> inspected it and then taped it up and sent it directly on to me
> without any phone call and without any additional postage. This is
> the first time this has happened to me in more than ten years of
> importing seeds from outside the U.S. The sender had drawn a box
> around my address, drew some arrows pointing to it, and had written
> above the top of the rectangle surrounding my address: "Permit Holder
> & Final Address". I believe that every nation that has joined the
> International Postal Union (pretty much almost every country in the
> world <…>) is
> required to follow a standard set of rules, one of which is that the
> postage charged for an international package or letter covers
> delivery of that item to the final destination written on the outside
> of the item. I believe this has been a point of disagreement with the
> USPS and APHIS/PPQ and is why the local inspection office had to ask
> me for additional postage or a FedEx charge number to deliver
> packages to me when the sender did NOT write my address on the
> outside of the package. This would be great if they continue this
> practice.
> Furthermore, the sender had included a cover sheet inside the package
> that stated that the seeds were fleshy and could possibly germinate
> during delivery despite having been kept dry and dark the entire
> time. A few of the seeds HAD germinated en route, but nothing was
> confiscated and the sheet had been opened and read. So that is good too.
> So if this way of doing it continues, I think all of the concerns of
> each of the parties will be satisfied.
> --Lee Poulsen
> Pasadena, California, USA, USDA Zone 10a
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