New Guidance on How to Handle Unsolicited Seeds

Ernie NeffIndustry News Release

People receiving unsolicited seeds or plant material through the mail should either report the seeds and submit them for testing or dispose of them using the method described below. This advice comes from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).

The seed packets, which have recently arrived unexpectedly in Florida and throughout the United States in packages with Chinese characters, may bear the name China Post and may be labeled as jewelry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) believes the seeds are part of a brushing scam, where unsolicited items are sent in order to post false customer reviews and boost online sales.

Those wishing to report the seeds and submit them for testing can complete a USDA reporting form here. After completing and submitting the form, place seed packets and/or plant material and mailing materials in a sealable plastic bag, then place everything in a mailing envelope. Floridians should include their name, address and phone number, and mail the package to USDA APHIS PPQ, 3951 Centerport St., Orlando, FL 32827.

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Those wishing to dispose of seed packages should:

  1. Not open the seed packet.
  2. Completely wrap and enclose the packet with duct tape.
  3. Double bag the wrapped seed packet in sealable plastic bags, squeezing out any air, and seal tightly.
  4. Completely cover the folded bag with duct tape to prevent the bag from bursting and to keep water and sun from reaching the seeds.
  5. Discard in trash.

More destruction options for seeds and plants already planted, and for potted seeds and plants, can be found at the Unsolicited Seed by Mail FDACS web page.

FDACS first warned Floridians about the unsolicited packages of seeds in late July. At that time, FDACS had received at least 631 reports from Florida residents who had received the suspicious seed packages. See an early warning from FDACS here.

Source: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

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