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CFIA update on unsolicited packages of seeds

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is committed to protecting the health of Canada’s plant resources, our environment and our economy.

To date, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has received reports from more than 750 individuals across all Canadian provinces who have received unrequested packages of unknown seeds. There have been no reports of unsolicited seeds in the territories.

In collaboration with the Canadian public, the CFIA continues to collect information on these unsolicited seed packages, including information about the contents, on the sender, return address (if any), postmark, and how the package was labelled.

Information that CFIA has collected to date includes:

It remains unclear why some Canadians are receiving the seeds, or their originators, although some of the recipients reported having ordered seeds online in the past.

The CFIA is considering all options, including the possibility that an e-commerce business is trying to boost online sales by sending unrequested products to customers and posting fake positive reviews, also known as “brushing”.

The CFIA continues to work with the Canada Border Services Agency and Canada Post, as well as with its international partners to identify the seed origins and stop the flow of unsolicited seeds into Canada.

The CFIA asks Canadians who receive seeds they did not order to:

Additional steps:

While the CFIA continues to collect and share information with other countries experiencing the same situation, such as the United States, we may not be able to determine the source.

This situation is an opportunity to remind Canadians of the importance of plant health and of Canada’s plant import requirements when buying and selling online.

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COVID-19 is a global challenge. Keeping our supply chains moving is important for maintaining the health and wellbeing of citizens and businesses. While the Canada - U.S. border is now closed to non-essential traffic, it is still open for trade and commerce. We are committed to doing our part for global supply chains.

We are protecting the health and safety of our employees. They are working from home, except for critical functions that require certain equipment or managing paper/courier flow. In those cases we are following social distancing guidelines.

We are open and available to assist you, and key players in your supply chains. Our dedicated staff are available 24/7 and our brokerage and logistics experts are available to help you make adjustments to your supply chain, if necessary.

We encourage you to check out the government programs available to families, businesses, exporters and importers. And, while respecting the need for social distancing we encourage everyone, including our staff, to reach out and remain connected to family, friends, colleagues and customers.

Stay safe.

Peter Willson
Chairman & CEO
Willson International

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