Mysterious Seeds from China baffle Agricultural officials
Agricultural officials across the U.S. have launched probes after residents received mysterious packages of seeds that appear to have originated from China. Mike Strain, Louisiana’s commissioner of agriculture and forestry, which is investigating packages received in that state, said the USDA is also investigating the matter….
A photo of seeds apparently delivered from China is making rounds that caused concern among agriculture departments from multiple states.
Washington State Department of Agriculture issues warning
If you received unsolicited seeds from any other country DO NOT plant them and if they are in sealed packaging (as in the photo below) don’t open the sealed package, said Washington State Department of Agriculture in one of their recent Facebook updates.
“Today we received reports of people receiving seeds in the mail from China that they did not order. The seeds are sent in packages usually stating that the contents are jewelry. Unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.” Read the post
Agriculture departments in Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington state are among state agencies that have issued similar warnings. Departments also cautioned people not to open the sealed packages of seeds and to keep the labeling intact so that officials could investigate.
“Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops,” the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a news release on July 24.
Utah resident Lori Culley is one of the people who received a package of seeds, according to CNN affiiliate KSTU. She told the news station that though “most of the writing on the outside was in Chinese,” the package label indicated that it contained jewelry.
Message from Texas Agriculture Commissioner
The Texas Agriculture Commissioner is warning Texans to use “extreme caution” when receiving unsolicited packets of seeds from China. The warning comes after packets were sent to residents in several states, including Texas and Louisiana.
The packets are being falsely labeled as jewelry. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said the seeds may contain harmful invasive species or be unsafe.
“I am urging folks to take this matter seriously,” Commissioner Miller said in a statement Monday. “An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. TDA has been working closely with USDA to analyze these unknown seeds so we can protect Texas residents.”
Plants and seeds that are shipped to the US from other countries are heavily regulated by the Plant Protection and Quarantine Program, which is managed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Seeds that are imported into the US must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate that ensures the product is free of pests and diseases.
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