People across the country are receiving unsolicited packages of unidentified seeds in the mail that seem to be coming from China. The Office of Indiana State Chemist, located at Purdue University, is urging Hoosiers not to plant or dispose of the seeds since they could be spreading noxious weeds, plant diseases or invasive species.
Anyone in Indiana who receives a package is told not to open the seed packet and to mail it and any packaging materials to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Indiana office.
Weed seeds, invasive species and disease pathogens can spread rapidly, costing millions of dollars annually for just a single plant or disease, and cause billions of dollars of impact overall each year.
Purdue says it’s possible that the seeds are part of a “brushing” campaign in which online retailers send out unsolicited packages and use the fake sales to improve the seller’s ratings in the marketplace. But state agricultural and environmental leaders don’t want to take any chances.
Anyone who receives unsolicited seeds should:
-Keep the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, but do not open the seed packet;
-Place all contents in a zip-top bag, then place the bag in an envelope or small box and mail it to:
USDA APHIS PPQ
State Plant Health Director
3059 N. Morton St.
Franklin, IN 46131
-If you cannot mail the items, do not dispose of them. Keep the seeds, packaging and mailing label and contact the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology at 866-663-9684 or DEPP@dnr.IN.gov.