Unsolicited Foreign Seeds
*The following information only pertains to you if you have been mailed unsolicited seeds from any foreign country. If you have received something other than seeds, we cannot advise you on what steps to take other than to contact the sender for instructions.*
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently investigating shipments of unsolicited seed to households across the United States. At this point in time, USDA has not received any information to suggest this is anything more than a marketing scam. However, unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or even threaten our environment.
If you have received such seeds, KDA encourages you to bag it in an airtight bag and send it to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ). Once you have bagged all material and placed it in a mailing package you should send it to the following address:
P.O. Box 475
Hebron, Kentucky 41048
In addition, please complete an “Unsolicited Foreign Seed Form” to send with the seeds to USDA-APHIS. Again, we thank you for contacting the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. As we have more information, we will update our website and notify the public. At this moment there is no timeline on when we’ll have more detailed information. Please keep checking our website for updates and consult our Frequently Asked Questions page on this matter for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I live outside the state of Kentucky and received such a packet. Can you help me?
Please contact the state department of agriculture in your state of residence to help you with the next steps.
- I received a shipment of unsolicited seed from a foreign country. What should I do?
It is important that the U.S. Department of Agriculture can collect and test as many seeds as possible to determine whether these packets present a threat to U.S. agriculture or the environment.
Anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds should follow these steps:
- Save the seeds and the package they came in, including the mailing label.
- Do not open the seed packets.
- Do not plant any of the seed.
- If the packets are already open, place all materials (seeds and packaging) into a zip lock bag and seal it.
- Place everything (seeds and any packaging, including the mailing label) in a mailing envelope. Please include your name, address, and phone number so that a State or Federal agriculture official can contact you for additional information.
- In Kentucky, mail the package to:
P.O. Box 475
Hebron, Kentucky 41048
If I can’t send the seed package to agricultural officials right away, how should I store them in the meantime?
Put seeds and any original packaging, including the mailing label, in a sealable plastic bag until you can follow the instructions for shipment.
What should I do if I already planted the seeds?
If you already planted the seeds:
- Remove the seeds or plants and at least 3 inches of the surrounding soil and place inside a plastic bag.
- Squeeze out the air and tightly seal the bag.
- Place the bag inside a second plastic bag, squeeze out the air and seal it tightly.
- Put the bag in the municipal trash. Do not compost it.
- If you planted the seeds in reusable pots or containers, wash the planting container with soap and water to remove any remaining dirt. It’s important to wash the container over a sink or other container to catch the run-off. Put the run-off down the drain or flush down a toilet.
- Soak clean planting container in a 10 percent bleach and water solution for 30 minutes.
What if I get an unsolicited package other than seeds?
If you have received something other than seeds, we cannot advise you on what steps to take other than to contact the sender for instructions.