REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — After warning Ohioans not to open unsolicited packages after several residents received packages of seeds that appeared to have originated from China, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is asking for those who have received such packages to send them to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The ODA and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are working to investigate the number of seed packets sent to Ohio, what types of seeds they are and where they were mailed from.
If you have received a package with unsolicited seeds, you are asked not to open, plant or throw them away, and instead send them in for investigation.
At this time, the USDA believes these seeds are being mailed as part of a "brushing scam," whereby "people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales."
The USDA is collecting these seed packages and said they will test their contents to determine if they contain anything "that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment."
There are two methods of sending them into the ODA and USDA-APHIS.
The first method is to place the materials, including the seeds, original packaging material and your contact information in a resealable plastic bag and mail them to the following address:
Attn: USDA -SITC
8995 East Main Street, Building 23
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
The second method is to place the materials, including the seeds, original packaging material and your contact information in a resealable plastic bag and drop them off at your county’s OSU Extension Office during business hours. To find one nearest you, click here.
ODA warns that the unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, contain noxious weeds, could introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock.
To learn more click here.