Iowa Ag Officials Issue Warning After Getting Reports From Residents Receiving Unsolicited Shipments Of Seeds

Wed 7-29-2020

(Des Moines)-- The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has issued a warning after confirming reports that some Iowa residents have received unsolicited seed shipments from China and other countries. Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig says anyone who has received unlabeled seed from an unknown origin should retain the original packaging material and report it immediately by calling 515-281-5321. The seeds will be collected by either the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship or the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service which will analyze and properly destroy them.

Officials warn against planting or destroying the seeds. They say once they germinate, they could pose the threat of introducing an invasive plant species or seed-borne diseases that currently do not exist in the United States.

Officials say they believe the operation may be what's known as a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost online sales.