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TDA Issues Guidance on Unsolicited Seeds

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 | 04:17pm
unsolicited seeds

NASHVILLE — 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, there is no evidence to indicate these unsolicited seeds have gone through appropriate inspection, or if they are even the type of seed they are labeled to be.

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.

If citizens receive seeds they did not order, they should not handle or plant the seeds. Instead, notify TDA through this form.

There are two options to dispose of the seeds.

Option 1 (PREFERRED):  Seal the seeds into two plastic bags and send all packaging  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

Option 2:  Notify TDA through our online form. Then seal the seeds into two plastic bags and place in the trash for disposal.

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.

TDA continues to monitor this situation and are working closely with our federal partners and partners in other states. We will provide the latest information on our social media channels. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.