Officials: don’t handle plant seeds received in the mail from other countries

Jul 29, 2020 at 01:31 pm by WGNS

UPDATED: Citizens have contacted the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) indicating they’ve received seeds in the mail that they did not order. The seeds appear to have been shipped from China, and in some cases, the envelopes are labeled jewelry or beads.

“While we have no reason at this time to suspect that these seeds were sent with ill intention, we want to take every precaution to be sure an invasive or otherwise threatening plant species doesn’t take hold here,” Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said.

Imported plant materials go through rigorous testing and inspection to ensure they are not carrying any plant disease or pests and do not pose any threat to health and environment. So far, no evidence has been found to indicate these unsolicited seeds have gone through appropriate inspection, or if they are even the type of seed they are labeled to be.

If citizens receive seeds they did not order, they should not handle or plant the seeds. Instead, seal the bag of seeds into two plastic bags and send all packaging to TDA. If the seeds have already been planted, TDA recommends digging up the seeds or sprouted plants. They should be double-bagged and placed in the trash. It is not advisable to compost the seeds or sprouted plants.

Our partners at USDA believe the seeds may be a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales.

Persons can send unsolicited seed packages to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, attention Plant Certification. The original envelope as well as any paperwork or enclosures and the bag of seeds should be included along with the recipient’s name, contact information and full address.

Mail to P.O. Box 40627, Nashville, TN  37204
or send via UPS or FedEx to 436 Hogan Road, Nashville, TN  37220

If a person prefers not to send in their seeds, notify TDA that the unsolicited seeds were received. Call Plant Certification at 615-837-5137 or email Plant Certification Administrator Anni Self at Provide your name, contact information, and where you live, as well as what you received and any photos. Seeds should be double-bagged and sealed, and placed in the trash for disposal.

Previous News Story Below:

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is warning Tennesseans to not plant or handle seeds they may have received in the mail without placing an order.

According to Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee citizens are receiving these seeds in the mail from other countries.

“Imported plant materials – including seeds – go through rigorous testing and inspection to ensure they are not carrying any plant disease or pests and do not pose any threat to our environment and health,” TDA said in a post Monday. The department said it is working with partners at USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to determine what should be done with these seeds and they expect to have more information soon.

In the meantime, they advise to NOT PLANT or HANDLE these seeds. Seal the seeds into two plastic sandwich bag and report them to the Tennessee Department of Health by clicking here. 

SOURCE: Partner Station WMSR

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