News

Unsolicited seeds showing up in mailboxes throughout Iowa

USDA asks receivers to report these

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. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Agriculture)
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. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Agriculture)

Individuals in Iowa, and around the country, are receiving unsolicited packages full of seeds.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture is asking anyone who receives the seeds to keep the package and report it.

“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,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said.

The unlabeled seeds and seeds from unknown origins should never be planted, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture. The seeds could introduce an invasive plant species or seed-borne disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service issued a news release stating these seeds may be a scam where people receive unsolicited items that sellers then post false customer reviews to boost sales.

It appears the seeds are coming from China, according to the USDA.

A press release from Iowa state Sen. Kevin Kinney said to hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, report the packages at 515-281-5321, and wait for further instructions.

“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,” Kinney said.