USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and state departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
As of July 27, officials in at least 15 states had received reports from residents of unsolicited packages of seeds arriving at their homes.
USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to:
- Immediately contact their state plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director.
- Hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your state department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions.
- Not plant seeds from unknown origins.
At this time, USDA doesn’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. USDA is collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.