NewsCovering Kentucky


USDA believes mystery seeds sent to Kentuckians from China are part of marketing scam

Posted at 10:00 AM, Jul 31, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says they have not received "any indication" that foreign seeds sent to people across the state are nothing more than a marketing scam.

On Monday, Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles said several Kentuckians received unsolicited seed packets that appear to have originated by China. The types of seeds are unknown and may be harmful. The packages were sent by mail.

Don't plant unwanted seeds that arrive in the mail, Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture warns

"The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails since Monday about unsolicited packages of seeds from foreign countries," Commissioner Quarles said. "While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not received any indication that this could be anything more than a marketing scam, they continue to investigate this matter and provide guidance on what steps Kentuckians should take should they receive unsolicited seeds."

If you received any unsolicited foreign seeds, you should bag them in an airtight bag and send it to the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) at:

P.O. Box 475
Hebron, Kentucky 41048

"The message is the same: Do not plant unsolicited seeds," Commissioner Quarles said. "If you have planted these seeds already, we are awaiting guidance from USDA about how to proceed. Once we have an update, we will be sure to let the public know."

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has created a webpage where they will share updated information on unsolicited seeds from foreign countries.