SC Commissioner Hugh Weathers: Mystery Seeds

There have been reports across the nation of individuals receiving unsolicited or mismarked packages of seeds. Here to tell us more about how South Carolina is handling the situation is SC Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers.

  • Over the past week, SCDA has received reports from across the state of people receiving either unsolicited packages of seeds with unknown origin or seeds different to those ordered that are mislabeled as other items.
  • We are working together with Clemson University’s Plant Industry, specifically their Office of Invasive Species, as well as USDA APHIS to gather more information and work toward collecting these packages.
  • 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.
  • USDA APHIS has said they don’t have any reason to suspect this is anything more than a “brushing scam.” This is when an online vendor creates fakes orders and ships unsolicited items to improve their online reviews.
  • At this time, please:
  • Do not open the seed packets or handle the seeds.
  • Do not plant unidentified seeds. They may be invasive species that could displace or destroy native plants and insects.
  • Retain the seeds and packaging and put them in a zip-top bag
  • If you have received unsolicited seeds in the mail, please contact the Invasive Species office of Plant Industry at (864) 646-2140 or at invasives@clemson.edu
  •  We anticipate more guidance from USDA on this subject soon and will communicate details about disposal days as plans materialize.