Collecting Unsolicited Seeds

Ernie NeffInternational

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently issued warnings about unsolicited packages of seed received through the mail. See a previous article about the warnings.

APHIS is collecting as many seed packages as possible to determine whether they present a threat to U.S. agriculture or the environment. APHIS asks anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to review a question-and-answer document and support efforts to collect the packages. See the document about the seeds here. The document includes an answer to the question, “What should I do if I’ve received a package of seeds?” That question has multiple answers:

  • Save the seeds and the package they came in, including the mailing label.
  • Do not open the seed packets.
  • Do not plant any of the seed.  
  • If the packets are already open, place all materials (seeds and packaging) into a zip-lock bag and seal it.
  • Place everything (seeds and any packaging, including the mailing label) in a mailing envelope. Include your name, address and phone number so that a state or federal agriculture official can contact you for additional information.
  • Contact your state plant regulatory official or APHIS state plant health director for instructions on where to send the package, to arrange a no-contact pick up or to determine a convenient drop-off location.
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The seeds APHIS has already identified are not uniform or of any one particular type. They include a mixture of ornamental, fruit, vegetable, herb and weed seeds.

“It is important that we collect as many seeds as possible to determine whether they could introduce damaging pests and diseases that could be harmful to American agriculture,” APHIS states.

APHIS says it is “committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.”

Source: USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

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