Across the U.S., people are reporting receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds from China in the mail. State agricultural departments from 30 states are asking those who receive them to not open them, and by all means not plant them.
Recipients are asked to email the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service – Plant Protection and Quarantine office in Hermon, ME, at (207) 848-0008 or by visiting email@example.com. Recipients should hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from USDA gets in touch with further instructions.
The seeds are usually sent in white packages displaying Chinese lettering and the words “China Post.” Most recipients say they did not order anything, and that the packaging was labeled as jewelry. Some recipients have reported ordering seeds on Amazon and receiving these seeds.
Sid Miller, Texas agriculture commissioner, urged Texans not to plant these seeds, as they could contain harmful invasive species or be otherwise unsafe, according to a release. Invasive species are organisms not native to a certain region. The introduction of invasive species could cause the destruction of native crops, introduce diseases to native plants and could be dangerous to livestock.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine Smuggling, Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit is currently investigating.