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Agriculture

Receipt of Unsolicited Seeds

Unsolicited SeedsResidents across Rhode Island have reported receiving unsolicited packages that appear to have originated in a foreign country and contain seeds.

Do Not Plant Unsolicited Seeds. Do Not Throw Unsolicited Seeds In The Trash.

Rhode Islanders who receive an unsolicited package of seeds should follow these steps:

  • Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label.
  • DO NOT OPEN THE SEED PACKETS.
  • Place all contents in a Ziploc bag, then place in envelope or small box.
  • Ship the seed and related material to the USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine Office at the following address:
    USDA APHIS PPQ
    97 Barnes Road, Unit 200
    Wallingford, CT 06492
  • Please provide your contact information in the Ziploc bag submitted with the seeds:
    Name
    Address
    Phone number
    e-mail address
  • If you are unable to ship the seed or have already planted the seed, please email Chuck Baker at Charles.e.baker@usda.gov and provide the following information: Name, Address, Phone number, e-mail address
  • Most importantly…….Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.
  • If you have already planted the seed, please await guidance from USDA as to disposal of the seed and associated soil. Do not put seed or plant material in a compost pile.
 
Make report to DEM

Make a report to DEM to include your name, address, email address and phone number. The report can be made by phone by calling the Division of Agriculture at 401-222-2781 ext. 4516 or via email to DEM.SPRO@dem.ri.gov


RIDEM and USDA cooperate closely in safeguarding agriculture and protecting the environment and consumers while facilitating trade and movement of agricultural products. When unlabeled seeds enter the country without evidence of having been inspected and certified, there is an increased risk they could be invasive or noxious weed seeds or harboring plant pests. If such organisms were to be released and become established, they could threaten agriculture or the natural environment.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.

At this time, we don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a "brushing scam" where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment. All seeds collected will be incinerated and witnessed to incineration by USDA APHIS.

Learn more

About Us

Consisting of six primary program areas, the Rhode Island Division of Agriculture works to sustain, promote and enhance Rhode Island's agricultural viability today and for generations to come.


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RIDEM Agriculture
Ken Ayars, Chief
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Phone: (401) 222-2781 ext. 4500