The US Department of Agriculture, as well as local agencies, issued a warning this weekend about suspicious packages with Chinese writing containing seeds of unknown species.

They said not to open the package, but to call the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, at 800-877-3835, and hold onto the package until you get further instruction.


Late Yesterday afternoon, the Iowa Department of Agriculture warned about these seeds. They explained that they have received Iowa residents are beginning to report receiving these seeds, and also warned against planting the seed.

If you receive one you should contact the Department of Agriculture in your state. Iowa Department of Ag: (515) 281-5321 and Illinois Department of Ag: (217)782-3817.


The concern is that the seeds may be an invasive species of plant, and part of a "brushing scam," which is when a company sends a product to an address in order to be able to write a positive review for their product.

They're also popping up in Illinois too. Listener Jayson, sent us a message saying that he received some in the mail yesterday to his Rock Island residence. He told us that he's not sure how they even got his name and address. 

Jayson Jones/ Townsquare Media

Another listener from Cedar Falls said they've received seeds as well.

Eric Dodge / Townsquare Media

Whatever the case, states affected by this so far include the following, and they're showing up in other states:

  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Washington State
  • Virginia
  • Iowa
  • Delaware
  • Texas
  • Louisiana 
  • North Carolina
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • North Dakota
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland

Enter your number to get our free mobile app