Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist
Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist

Unsolicited Foreign Seeds FAQ


I received seeds that I did not order, can I plant them?
We are asking that anyone who receives seeds that they did not order to not plant the seeds.

I recently received seeds that I did not order, what should I do?
We are asking residents of Kentucky to mail the seeds and the envelope to the USDA office in Northern Kentucky. They are collecting the seeds and forwarding them to a national diagnostic lab. The address and other information is on the Unsolicited Foreign Seed Form.

I live outside of Kentucky. Who should I contact?
Visit the National Plant Board website to find your appropriate state contact.

I have ordered seeds online (through Amazon or other vendor) in the past, is this cause for alarm?
Not necessarily, however we do strongly encourage everyone to make sure the seeds they are purchasing come from a reputable vendor. Online purchases of plants, seeds, and other plant products can be risky because these items can carry a range of invasive pests and plant diseases that are not currently in the U.S. These purchases can also be illegal without proper inspections and paperwork, such as permits or plant health certificates.

Why am I receiving seeds that I did not order?
Although the investigation is still ongoing, the early thought is this is a “brushing” scam. This is where sellers send unsolicited items to unsuspecting consumers and then post false reviews to boost sales.

Why does the envelope say the contents inside the package are things like jewelry instead of seeds?
Seeds are subject to inspection at U.S. ports of entry while other items may not require an inspection.

I have already planted the seeds before I knew this was a problem. What should I do now?
Please contact Joe Collins who can walk you through the necessary steps. 859.218.3341

Is there any dangerous substance on the seeds that can make me sick?
There does NOT appear to be anything nefarious on the seeds however out of an abundance of caution, we are recommending that people do not open the pouch of seeds. Wash your hands thoroughly after placing the seeds in the envelope to mail to the USDA office in Northern Kentucky.

Is there anything I can do to keep from getting more seeds that I did not order?
The USDA strongly recommends that consumers who have purchased seeds via internet platforms (Amazon or others) to change their password.

 Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist