On July 28, Robin Pruiser, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) Ag Security Coordinator, urged anyone who has received an unsolicited seed package to not open, plant or eat the seeds.
Anyone who has received the unsolicited seed package should not open, plant or eat the seeds because it is unlabeled and could be an invasive plant that does not currently exist in the United States. The seed may contain seed-borne diseases that are not currently present in the U.S.
Additionally, some packets appear to have an unknown seed treatment applied (seed treatments are usually an insecticide and/or fungicide). Because the packets are unlabeled, the compounds and how dangerous they could be to human health are unknown. Seed is an agricultural commodity that is regulated for quality and content by the USDA as well as State Departments of Agriculture.
According to IDALS, the seed could be part of a brushing scam. To find more information on the scam, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brushing_(e-commerce).
IDALS asks individuals to keep both the packaging and the seed, as they will likely make arrangements to collect the seed for appropriate disposal. Those who have received a seed package should contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture or USDA and report their contact information.
To contact IDALS, call 515-281-5321. To contact the USDA, call 515-251-4083.