“Seeds on Katy Perry’s album triggers biosecurity alert from [Australia] Department of Agriculture”

This was the headline from Australia ABC News.

Katy Perry’s latest CD, Prism, includes packaging paper embedded with wildflower seeds (think green packaging).

General policy is that live plant material (including seeds) should not be transported across countries and certainly continents, and in many cases is regulated and/or illegal.  Australia enforces strict quarantine measures on the movement of plant material into the continent.

An internet search for the words “Katy Perry seeds Prism” will turn up a lot of headlines.  A subheadline from dailymail.co.uk explains the reasoning: “Fears they could be the host of a plant pathogen of biosecurity concern.”

It’s totally serious. Seeds, fruits and plants can harbor viruses, bacteria, fungi and other pests.  There are countless examples of invasive pests – Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, to name a few – which have been transported inadvertently across continents and now threaten native species.  The economic losses total in the billions of dollars.

It might sound far-fetched, but these regulations have a sound scientific basis.  > More info