Author Topic: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?  (Read 1048 times)

LostBoy_Dani

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Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« on: April 10, 2023, 11:13:21 AM »
Hello all! I am visiting my family in Singapore for around a month late June to early July. I'd love to try and bring some difficult to find seeds back with me, such as varieties of mango, durian, Jackfruit, mangosteen etc.

I live in California, where I've heard they are quite strict on bringing things of that nature back. I do want to be mindful of both environmental and agricultural sensitivities. Do folks have some do's and donts regarding specific species and cultivars that shouldn't be brought back, or wouldn't grow true or near-true anyways? Suggestions on how to transport them back? I'll be on a few flights with layovers, wasn't sure if seeds would be safer in checked bags or carry ons.

On the flip side, and requests of things to try and bring back with me?

Jaboticaba45

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2023, 02:23:18 PM »
You can legally bring certain species back with a small lot of seed permit. Bring them the labels and box so once they inspect it they can send it to your address. I haven't done it this way, but there are people who can chime in. Most of the time, you're just sending permits to the sender.
Once set up, it is not too bad.
people do sneak them in on their luggage, but it's not legal and you could get in trouble for that.

pagnr

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2023, 03:50:14 PM »
Many tropical seeds can't be allowed to dry out, so need some type of moist packing material, to stop them drying.
Peat or Sphagnum, vermiculite, moist paper towel etc.
What are the CA / USA regulations on this ?
In Australia they can get pretty picky on this and reject seed lots due to the packing material.
Also large seeds need protection in transit, such as bubble wrap, especially thru the mail.
Allow time for transit thru the Airport and customs, especially if you declare seed requiring inspection, and need to catch a connecting flight etc.
Know the rules before you leave, you may need to explain the regulations allowing you to bring in the seed.
You might need to label with the correct Latin / Botanical name, ie Mango ( Mangifera indica ) etc.

Lucifermonkey

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2023, 07:37:24 PM »
You can eat the seeds and um . . “collect” them when you get home. 🤣
I am not a lawyer and don’t recommend this option of course.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2023, 07:40:07 PM by Lucifermonkey »

pagnr

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2023, 04:38:10 AM »
You can eat the seeds and um . . “collect” them when you get home. 🤣
I am not a lawyer and don’t recommend this option of course.

18 hours and 7 minutes is the average flight time from Singapore Changi to New York John F.
You would probably have 3 inflight meals, and used the Aircraft toilet at least once if not 3 times, for a number 2.
I don't think you can hold out that long to deliver your seeds to the USA.
If anyone is thinking of that method, they may want to take up fasting and Yoga beforehand.

LostBoy_Dani

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2023, 10:53:10 AM »
Thanks all for the recommendations! I had no idea about the permit, I looked into it and admittedly reading and trying to understand the process made my head spin a bit, but glad to know it's an option!

I was def going to keep them moist, likely in a plastic bag with vermiculite, or just a paper towel. I germinate a lot of my tropical seeds that way.

Haha def  not gonna fish any seeds out of a toilet, but if anyone else is desperate enough to try, good luck to them!

And yes the flight is quite long, usually with a short one to another US state, then two long flights with a short stopover in Tokyo or Seoul or Hong Kong.

I think the hardest part has been finding info on the rules that spell it out for someone who has a hard time understanding legal jargon ://

Jaboticaba45

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2023, 01:12:51 PM »
Thanks all for the recommendations! I had no idea about the permit, I looked into it and admittedly reading and trying to understand the process made my head spin a bit, but glad to know it's an option!

I was def going to keep them moist, likely in a plastic bag with vermiculite, or just a paper towel. I germinate a lot of my tropical seeds that way.

Haha def  not gonna fish any seeds out of a toilet, but if anyone else is desperate enough to try, good luck to them!

And yes the flight is quite long, usually with a short one to another US state, then two long flights with a short stopover in Tokyo or Seoul or Hong Kong.

I think the hardest part has been finding info on the rules that spell it out for someone who has a hard time understanding legal jargon ://
The permit took me several hours to set up.
If you're importing lot's of seeds, you need this.
Unless you have a phytosanitary certificate, which is even harder to obtain.
I've never bothered bringing back seeds from international flights because it's a hassle. Much better to just buy from someone in US or have sender ship you seeds with the permit.


palmcity

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2023, 03:11:10 PM »
You can eat the seeds and um . . “collect” them when you get home. 🤣
I am not a lawyer and don’t recommend this option of course.

18 hours and 7 minutes is the average flight time from Singapore Changi to New York John F.
You would probably have 3 inflight meals, and used the Aircraft toilet at least once if not 3 times, for a number 2.
I don't think you can hold out that long to deliver your seeds to the USA.
If anyone is thinking of that method, they may want to take up fasting and Yoga beforehand.
FYI:
Normal bowel movement from eating till bowel evacuation:::  Googled ::: "After you eat, it takes about six to eight hours for food to pass through your stomach and small intestine. Food then enters your large intestine (colon) for further digestion, absorption of water and, finally, elimination of undigested food. It takes about 36 hours for food to move through the entire colon."




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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2023, 10:10:46 PM »
The last time I got a Small Seeds Lot Permit (2018?), I was told by USDA that you could no longer bring seeds back in person and were required to mail them. Hopefully they have reconsidered that policy. I mailed my seeds back from SE Asia and everything (other than some durian seeds) arrived with no issues. Between the mailing and subsequent inspection in the US, it took about 3-4 weeks to get to my house. When I arrived back in the US and declared "no seeds/ag products" (since I had mailed them) my luggage was physically inspected to the last sock.

If you do try to bring seeds back, make sure that you declare them at your port of entry to avoid any potential legal issues. It will be up to whatever inspector you encounter at the airport as to whether you are permitted to keep them, they are sent to the nearest Ag station for inspection (if that happens, make sure to have some sort of shipping account set up as they will bill you for the postage to get them back home), or they will simply confiscate and "destroy" them.

Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

LostBoy_Dani

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2023, 10:42:23 AM »
The last time I got a Small Seeds Lot Permit (2018?), I was told by USDA that you could no longer bring seeds back in person and were required to mail them. Hopefully they have reconsidered that policy. I mailed my seeds back from SE Asia and everything (other than some durian seeds) arrived with no issues. Between the mailing and subsequent inspection in the US, it took about 3-4 weeks to get to my house. When I arrived back in the US and declared "no seeds/ag products" (since I had mailed them) my luggage was physically inspected to the last sock.

If you do try to bring seeds back, make sure that you declare them at your port of entry to avoid any potential legal issues. It will be up to whatever inspector you encounter at the airport as to whether you are permitted to keep them, they are sent to the nearest Ag station for inspection (if that happens, make sure to have some sort of shipping account set up as they will bill you for the postage to get them back home), or they will simply confiscate and "destroy" them.

Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

Thank u so much for this into, this is super helpful! So if I mail them, rather than carry them back, would I still need the small seed lot permit? Any tips on keeping them moist and alive over the mailing process? By the sounds of it it looks like mailing may be the better option to try

elouicious

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2023, 12:00:48 PM »
The last time I got a Small Seeds Lot Permit (2018?), I was told by USDA that you could no longer bring seeds back in person and were required to mail them. Hopefully they have reconsidered that policy. I mailed my seeds back from SE Asia and everything (other than some durian seeds) arrived with no issues. Between the mailing and subsequent inspection in the US, it took about 3-4 weeks to get to my house. When I arrived back in the US and declared "no seeds/ag products" (since I had mailed them) my luggage was physically inspected to the last sock.

If you do try to bring seeds back, make sure that you declare them at your port of entry to avoid any potential legal issues. It will be up to whatever inspector you encounter at the airport as to whether you are permitted to keep them, they are sent to the nearest Ag station for inspection (if that happens, make sure to have some sort of shipping account set up as they will bill you for the postage to get them back home), or they will simply confiscate and "destroy" them.

Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

There is a slight change to the form that needs to be made for shipping seeds vs bringing them with you-

IIRC it is something simple like checking a box

pagnr

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2023, 03:41:03 PM »
It seems similar to in Australia, your likely to be met with an arbitrary decision at Customs about allowing your seeds entry ?
If you have connecting flights and have to transit terminals, you probably don't have the time to make your case.
When species are allowed entry, you may want to have print outs of the info on hand, rather than find it online in the queue.
Mailing seeds can be a better option, some people also include the relevant import info for the species in the package.
Most decisions seem off the cuff, based on any reason to not allow seeds entry.

palologrower

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2023, 05:38:23 PM »
mango seeds aren't allowed into the country from Asia.  However, if you have them sent to Canada and then sent to the states, that is allowable.  But I do not know what Canadian Ag dept says re: importation of Mangifera. 

I don't know how you make the request, but the small lot of seed permit is not for hand carrying.  you could try and play stupid, but customs may pull you randomly and get inspected and if the permit does not specifically allow for hand carry, you may get a varied response as far as what happens next.  They allow you to go with a warning up to a fine of $10k i believe.  On a side note, I recently came home from abroad.  As I was waiting for the luggage to unload on to the carousel, three separate people got approached by customs and usda.  one of them was approached by unarm, the other two had border agents with firearms.  I only wonder what they didn/didn't do.  Maybe the garcinia seeds had coccaine inside. who knows. 

As others said, best to just sent them ahead via mail with your usda import permit.  The seeds you want to get (with exception of durian which could germinate very fast) will make the postal system without issue.  If you want to make it a success, don't cheap out by using Singpost.  Use DHL if you want Durian seeds to be in a state of pre-germination before the USDA officer inspects your package. I hope you are not close to LA.  I have been told by multiple sources, that there is a huge dick in that office that borderline loves to destroy seeds.  Luckily he's not permanently placed in seed package inspection and is rotated on off for weeks at a time.  I have been on the receiving end of his asshole mentality.  Once you have a seed that breaks its seed coat and is germinated, it is no longer a seed, but a plant. At that point, you need a phytosanitary certificate.  No certificate= goes into the incinerator.  That is all up to the discretion of the officer on duty apparently.  I have had this discussion with our station officers about how do you tell a seed to not germinate until after getting inspected? They laugh, but we agree that it's hard not straight black white when it comes to the regs vs. the reality. 

TropicalFruitHunters

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2023, 07:54:42 PM »
Palologrower...man, we've hashed thru this topic many times over the years and obviously nothing at USDA has gotten any better.  This seed permit should be the easiest freaking thing to get accomplished from start to end, yet so many are disappointed, angry, and most likely seedless by the end.  Don't get me wrong, I believe there are some terrific USDA folks out there and I've met a few who were actually quite helpful.  Others...not so much.  Their regulations are so crazy, most of the people at the inspection stations all have different ideas on how to interpret them.  Most do it wrong.  All they are accomplishing are forcing people to try and get their seeds without permits.  The percentage of getting them thru is about the same unfortunately.  I've been burned too many times myself. 

But back to the main topic.  I know you can bring trees with you on your flight with the proper permit and phytos.  You just have to make sure the flight you come into the states on has an inspection station and is open at the time.  Or, get completely lucky and be waved thru without anyone even glancing at your luggage!!  I thought you could also hand carry seeds.  This should be much easier than trees since no phyto is required...just the permit and the seeds labeled well.  But again, should be easier has no bearing on actual facts.  And if you are flying into Hawaii or California, keep in mind that they probably have a death penalty for this!

palologrower

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2023, 08:27:24 PM »
Palologrower...man, we've hashed thru this topic many times over the years and obviously nothing at USDA has gotten any better.  This seed permit should be the easiest freaking thing to get accomplished from start to end, yet so many are disappointed, angry, and most likely seedless by the end.  Don't get me wrong, I believe there are some terrific USDA folks out there and I've met a few who were actually quite helpful.  Others...not so much.  Their regulations are so crazy, most of the people at the inspection stations all have different ideas on how to interpret them.  Most do it wrong.  All they are accomplishing are forcing people to try and get their seeds without permits.  The percentage of getting them thru is about the same unfortunately.  I've been burned too many times myself. 

But back to the main topic.  I know you can bring trees with you on your flight with the proper permit and phytos.  You just have to make sure the flight you come into the states on has an inspection station and is open at the time.  Or, get completely lucky and be waved thru without anyone even glancing at your luggage!!  I thought you could also hand carry seeds.  This should be much easier than trees since no phyto is required...just the permit and the seeds labeled well.  But again, should be easier has no bearing on actual facts.  And if you are flying into Hawaii or California, keep in mind that they probably have a death penalty for this!

tell me about it.  i'm plannign this maprang project in thailand and trying to figure out all the possible outcomes and unexpected scenarios to play out and what will be needed...not seeds but plants.  but there's tons of issues.  some not even the fault of the USDA.  thailand/indo notorious for nematodes.  The phyto from is quenstionable since some dont' even really check.  so they set you up for failure.  at least if they send a phyto that shows actually clean, you could get a chance to go back and grab backups or something (not sure if that's possible). 

the new process is pretty fast though for the seed permit. only shitty thing is you have to amend each time you want a permit for another country or add a genus not originally on the permit. but the updated permits are sent pretty fast.  i can only say from my exepreince with the honolulu office, they're quite helpful with my questions and needs.  i got fucked with some seeds from overseas recently b/c u.s.border patrol and customs guy decides to act on his own and not consult the usda and rerouted by package back to origin country...which isn't even supposeds to be their job and usda had to go after them for overreach on my behalf.  so they're trying to help me get money back for customs lack of knowledge.

but overall, if the permit is there, the seeds don't germinate and you pick the appropriate postal option (sing post/thai post are good in my book at least), then should be fine. 

TropicalFruitHunters

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2023, 02:56:40 AM »
All I can say is good luck with the maprangs.  These are exactly what I was trying to bring back home with me.  No issue with the permit.  I bare rooted the trees prior to hitting the Thai ag station for inspection.  Didn't find out till I was there that I could have done this at the location.  The fight was that they wanted to call it mango plum or some other name, but always with the word "mango".  USDA will not allow mangoes into the country so having the mango on the phyto was a no-go for me.  Just a long long day.  All this crap and when I got into Chicago, I was waved right on thru even though I honestly claimed that I had shit to declare.  Good for me.  Ended up losing every single one of them in the greenhouse.  One thing I learned from this experience as well as having them shipped to me from someone else...maprangs have a SHITTY SHITTY root system!  Bare rooting just compounds this issue.  Hopefully you will have better luck.

palologrower

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2023, 05:19:07 AM »
All I can say is good luck with the maprangs.  These are exactly what I was trying to bring back home with me.  No issue with the permit.  I bare rooted the trees prior to hitting the Thai ag station for inspection.  Didn't find out till I was there that I could have done this at the location.  The fight was that they wanted to call it mango plum or some other name, but always with the word "mango".  USDA will not allow mangoes into the country so having the mango on the phyto was a no-go for me.  Just a long long day.  All this crap and when I got into Chicago, I was waved right on thru even though I honestly claimed that I had shit to declare.  Good for me.  Ended up losing every single one of them in the greenhouse.  One thing I learned from this experience as well as having them shipped to me from someone else...maprangs have a SHITTY SHITTY root system!  Bare rooting just compounds this issue.  Hopefully you will have better luck.

i'm working on growing out seedlings and go back next year to hunt for scions and seeds. So i'll send the scions ahead of me and maybe visit a friend's resort in phuket and come home relaxed.

happyhana

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2023, 02:59:10 PM »
Look for your seeds first here in the US, everything you mentioned can be found. So much easier and often better germination if you buy from good sellers.

I’ve had good experiences with Honolulu office. Problems have been with shipping routed through LA first and getting stuck with border there despite paying for express shipping to Honolulu port. If seed coat has been broken seeds are destroyed.

Good luck!

Jaboticaba45

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2023, 06:27:36 PM »
Going on about USDA...well today I got a package from Indonesia...with my permit...on a completely random package addressed to someone else. Turns out during inspection process, USDA agents took the permit and mixed it up and put on wrong package. Although the package wasn't addressed to me, the permit did so it somehow came to my place. Luckily, I knew the guy it was addressed to and we were able to make things right. Turns out the package was shipped februrary. Still, there was one or two viable durians in the package. Go figure.

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Re: Bringing seeds from Singapore to California - advice?
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2023, 08:02:54 PM »
You can eat the seeds and um . . “collect” them when you get home. 🤣
I am not a lawyer and don’t recommend this option of course.

18 hours and 7 minutes is the average flight time from Singapore Changi to New York John F.
You would probably have 3 inflight meals, and used the Aircraft toilet at least once if not 3 times, for a number 2.
I don't think you can hold out that long to deliver your seeds to the USA.
If anyone is thinking of that method, they may want to take up fasting and Yoga beforehand.
FYI:
Normal bowel movement from eating till bowel evacuation:::  Googled ::: "After you eat, it takes about six to eight hours for food to pass through your stomach and small intestine. Food then enters your large intestine (colon) for further digestion, absorption of water and, finally, elimination of undigested food. It takes about 36 hours for food to move through the entire colon."

Cassowaries are experts at transporting seeds this way! But it's not 36h.. More like 12h.. Transit time depends on diet.

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