Americans warned not to plant mystery seeds that appear in the mail | United States News

Agriculture officials in several US states issued warnings this week about unsolicited shipments of foreign seeds and advised people not to plant them.

Residents in more than a dozen states recently reported that they received packages of seeds that they did not order and that apparently were mailed from China.

The United States Department of Agriculture said it is working with Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies and the state department to investigate the situation.

The department urges US residents to report suspicious packages and not to plant the seeds. But “he has no evidence to indicate that this is more than a” brushing scam “where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts bogus customer reviews to increase sales.”


#APHIS is working closely with @CBP and State Depts of Ag re: Unsolicited Seeds. If received, please contact the State Department of Agriculture or the State Plant Health Office #APHIS Keep the packaging and don’t plant seeds of unknown origin!

July 27, 2020

In Kentucky, the state department of agriculture was notified that several residents had received the packages, agriculture commissioner Ryan Quarles said.

“We don’t know what they are, and we can’t risk damaging agricultural production in the United States,” he said. “We have the safest and most abundant food supply in the world and we need to keep it that way.”

“Right now, we don’t have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a joke, an internet scam or an act of agricultural bioterrorism,” added Quarles. “Unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment.”

In North Carolina, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it was contacted by numerous people who received shipments of seeds that they did not order. The agency said the shipments were likely the result of “brushing.”

“According to the Better Business Bureau, third-party third-party sellers use your address and Amazon information to generate a false sale and positive review to increase your product ratings,” said Phil Wilson, director of the plant industry division of the state.

And Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried said on Twitter Tuesday that the state had received more than 600 reports of suspicious seed packets.