Unknown Seeds Mailed to Residents

Report Retain unlabeled seeds from unknown origins.

Emergency Management Agency of Scott County has received the following information regarding seeds (seeds that you plant in the ground) that are being mailed to residents within the State of Iowa.

These seeds are not labeled and could contain an “invasive plant, seed-borne diseases, or other unknown seed treatments already applied.” Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship has been able to confirm that majority appear to be from China, and at least one Uzbekistan.

What to do & know:

  1. Retain the seed and the packaging it came in;
  2. Call the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land stewardship at 515-281-5321. We will collect contact information as we are preparing postage-paid envelopes to send the seed and packaging to us.

 Why do we care?

  1. The seed is unlabeled, and could be an invasive plant that does not currently exist in the US.
  2. The seed may contain seed-borne diseases that we don’t have in the USA.
  3. Some packets appear to have an unknown seed treatment applied (seed treatments are usually an insecticide and/or fungicide). Because the packets are unlabeled we don’t know what the compounds are, nor how dangerous they could be to human health.
  4. Seed is an agricultural commodity that is regulated for quality and content by the USDA as well as State Departments of Agriculture.

Why do we think this is happening?

We think this could be a brushing scam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brushing_(e-commerce)) where a vendor seeks to bolster product ratings online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver and then submitting positive reviews under the guise of the ‘verified buyer’. For whatever reason they are using seed, and an assortment of other odds and ends and even sometimes packages that contain nothing. We suggest changing your passwords in your online shopping accounts if you have received an unsolicited package.

 We are asking you to do the following:

  • Do not plant the seed;
  • Do not open the packets;
  • Please let the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship know you have received the seed;
    • IDALS – (515) 281-5321
  • Please retain the packaging and seed, as we will make arrangements to collect the seed for investigative purposes and then arrange for appropriate disposal. We are exploring pre-paid postage options for you to mail the seed to us.
July 29, 2020