Suspicious Seed From China

To all NARGS members, and their gardening friends –

It would appear that seeds are being sent, unsolicited, from sources in China, and the USDA has issued this statement:

         "USDA Seeks Help from Citizens to Collect Unsolicited Seeds Packages
          Question and Answer Document Provides Guidance

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (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 go to the APHIS webpage to review the question and answer document and support our collection efforts.

The seeds we have already identified are not uniform or of any particular type. They include a mixture of ornamental, fruit and 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.

USDA is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds. Visit the APHIS’ website to learn more about USDA’s efforts to stop agricultural smuggling and promote trade compliance."

August 7, 2020 – USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has expanded the list of locations where the public can send unsolicited seed packets. We have also added options for submitting reports online to APHIS or the state departments of agriculture.

APHIS urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to submit an online report and mail their seeds to the designated USDA or state department of agriculture location in their state. If more than one location is listed, please select the location closest to your residence.

Instructions for Mailing Seed Packets:

  • Place the unopened seed packet and any packaging, including the mailing label in a mailing envelope. If the seed packets are open, first place the seeds and their packaging into a zip-lock bag, seal it, and then place everything into a mailing envelope.
  • Please include your name, address, and phone number so that a State or Federal agriculture official can contact you for additional information, if needed.
  • If you received other unsolicited items in addition to seeds, please only send the seeds.

If you are unable to mail the package, please contact your APHIS State Plant Health Director to arrange a no-contact pick up or determine a convenient drop-off location.

Do not plant the seeds; do not dispose of the seeds at this point. Thank you for your help.

Members outside the USA who have received suspicious, unsolicited seed should check their country's Agriculture Department website for information on what to do.