(WIVB) – The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets is asking New Yorkers who have received unsolicited packages of seeds from foreign countries to send them to the department.
Residents should also include their contact information, the sealed packet of seeds and the original packaging, and any other relevant details directly to the USDA at:
Office of the State Plant Health Director of New York c/o Christopher Zaloga,
United States Department of Agriculture
500 New Karner Rd.
Albany, NY 12205
Don’t call 911 to report receiving seeds.
According to the USDA, the situation is under investigation, but there’s currently no evidence that this is more than a “brushing scam”- where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales.
“Legitimate seeds imported into the United States meet rigorous standards to ensure quality and prevent introduction of invasive species, insects and diseases,” the NYS Dept. of Agriculture said in a Thursday press release. “People who receive seeds that they did not order, that are mislabeled, or are from a questionable source, should not plant or handle the seeds.”
If you buy seeds online, make sure you buy them from a reputable, known source, the department warns.
“Purchasing from a known, reputable seed company increases the likelihood of receiving properly labeled seeds that meet germination, sanitation and trueness to variety standards,” the press release said. “It also ensures the seeds have met standards that protect plants and agricultural crops from invasive pests and noxious weeds.”
Residents can email the USDA at firstname.lastname@example.org.