Has the Mystery of the Chinese Seeds Been Solved?
The mystery over those strange seeds being sent from China is solved ... sort of.
People across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seeds. The USDA received reports from 22 states and sent out a warning to not plant the seeds and notify officials of the packages. After investigating, the seeds were identified as 14 different species, including mustard, cabbage, morning glory and some herbs.
The USDA is calling the mailed seeds a 'brushing scam,' where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. The seeds are being mailed to people who recently bought something online.
It is important the USDA collects and tests as many seeds as possible to determine whether these packets present a threat to U.S. agriculture or the environment.
What should you do if you received a package of seeds?
• Save the seeds and the package they came in, including the mailing label.
• Do not open the seed packets.
• Do not plant any of the seeds.
• If the packets are already open, place all materials (seeds and packaging) into a zip lock
bag and seal it.
• Place everything (seeds and any packaging, including the mailing label) in 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.
• Contact your State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director for
instructions or where to send the package, to arrange a no-contact pick up, or to
determine a convenient drop-off location.
If you already planted the seeds:
• Remove the seeds or plants and at least 3 inches of the surrounding soil and place inside a
• Squeeze out the air and tightly seal the bag.
• Place the bag inside a second plastic bag, squeeze out the air and seal it tightly.
• Put the bag in the municipal trash. Do not compost it.
• If you planted the seeds in reusable pots or containers, wash the planting container with
soap and water to remove any remaining dirt. It’s important to wash the container over a
sink or other container to catch the run-off. Put the run-off down the drain or flush down
• Soak clean planting container in a 10 percent bleach and water solution for 30 minutes.