Mystery Seeds from China
Residents are receiving a small manila envelope in the mail with seeds inside. You are urged to not open the seeds and to call the USDA.
The shipping labels indicate they come from China.
Contact the United States Department of Agriculture, put the package in a Ziploc bag and hold it until the USDA picks it up.
It’s also important not to throw it away in case it gets planted in a landfill.
It’s critical for those who receive unsolicited packages of seeds to report it to the USDA.
According to Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller, he said the Texas Department of Agriculture is working closely with the USDA to pick up the seeds from residents and take them to the seed lab. He stresses to not to open the bag of seeds.
“We think and we hope it might be a scam,” said Miller.
But he also said his team is assuming the worst until they find out what the seeds are. Different types of seeds are sealed in the envelopes.
“They could be some biological virus. It might be some kind of bacteria that could devastate our agriculture industry. We are taking every precaution," said Miller.
Unsolicited seed packages should be reported to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov
If individuals are aware of the potential smuggling of prohibited exotic fruits, vegetables, or meat products into or through the USA, they can help APHIS by contacting the confidential Anti-smuggling Hotline number at 800-877-3835 or by sending an Email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. USDA will make every attempt to protect the confidentiality of any information sources during an investigation within the extent of the law.
For more stories and images of some of these packages, visit:
Image from WFAA
WFAA for the Dallas Fort Worth area
Tapino.net for the New Jersey area
Boston Globe for the Massachusetts and New Hampshire area (You should be able to close the popup request for logon and read the story, or at least see the photo on top.)