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Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig confirmed today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is aware that individuals in Iowa have received unsolicited seed shipments from China and other countries.
The Department is asking anyone who receives unlabeled seed from an unknown origin to retain the original packaging and report it immediately at 515-281-5321. Recipients should not open the seed packet, plant the seed or attempt to destroy it. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship or United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will collect, analyze and properly destroy the seeds.
“The Iowa Department of Agriculture is working closely with the USDA to trace, collect and properly destroy these unknown seeds to protect our agriculture community from plant and seed-borne diseases,” said Secretary Naig.
Unlabeled seeds and seeds from unknown origins should never be planted. They pose the risk of introducing an invasive plant species or seed-borne diseases that do not currently exist in the United States. APHIS is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and State departments of agriculture to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.
The USDA APHIS issued a news release stating this may be a “brushing scam,” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost online sales.
The photo included shows an example of an unsolicited, unlabeled seed package from an unknown origin. If you receive a package like this, please report it immediately to the Iowa Department of Agriculture at 515-281-5321.