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Consumer Protection: Treat Unsolicited Seed Packets With Caution

July 29, 2020

Media contact: Michael D. Bannon, Consumer Protection, 215-348-6060, mdbannon@buckscounty.org

Bucks County’s Department of Consumer Protection is recommending caution after receiving reports of residents receiving “unordered” packets of seeds of unknown origin via overseas mail delivery. Suspicious seeds

Penn State Extension advises, above all, that residents do not plant the seeds, and that they do not discard them in their trash receptacles. It is not known at this time whether the seeds are contaminated with disease or are seeds for plants that are invasive and harmful to Pennsylvania agriculture and the ecosystem.

Consumers who receive unsolicited seeds are asked to retain them and their packaging. If the packaging has been opened, please double-bag it and seal the seeds inside. Do not discard loose seeds.

Residents who receive the seeds also are asked to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s confidential anti-smuggling hotline at 1-800-877-3835, or email sitc.mail@aphis.usda.gov. The USDA will provide further instructions. usda

The USDA is collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents to determine whether they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.

At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that this is anything other than a “brushing scam,” in which people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. However, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Residents with additional questions or concerns may email Bucks County Consumer Protection at consumerprotection@buckscounty.org, or call 1-800-942-2669.