If you’ve received suspicious seeds in the mail, Hillsborough County’s Extension Service will take them off your hands.
The unsolicited seeds, which appear to have come from China, should not be planted or used in any way, according to a news release from Hillsborough County.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working closely with other federal agencies and state departments of agriculture to investigate the deliveries, the news release says.
The USDA believes at this time that the packages, reportedly sometimes containing other items such as silverware and fidget spinners, are a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales, the release adds.
Seeds of unknown origin may constitute agricultural smuggling, be invasive, introduce pathogens or toxins, pose a risk of foodborne illness, or threaten plant and animal health, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The Hillsborough County Extension Service staff will accept the seeds on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Residents who are unable to drop off the seeds during these times can call (813) 744-5519 for additional instructions. The Extension Service is at 5339 County Road 579 in Seffner.
Published August 19, 2020