The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says residents have been receiving unsolicited packages of seeds appearing to come from China. Officials in other states, including Louisiana, Utah, Virginia and Washington, have reported similar situations.
Courtesy of Minnesota Department of Agriculture
The state Department of Agriculture is warning Minnesotans about packets of seeds arriving unsolicited in their mailboxes.
The agency says it has been getting reports of packages of small seeds that appear to have been sent from China.
Similar reports have surfaced in Ohio, Louisiana, Utah, Virginia and Washington. The Wall Street Journal says some appear to come from Uzbekistan and some are reaching people who have previously placed online orders for jewelry making supplies.
Officials are warning recipients not to plant the seeds and introduce potentially invasive plants to the state. The Agriculture Department isn’t sure what plants the seeds are from, but warn they could pose a risk to farm crops or natural landscapes.
“We’re uncertain what these seeds may be and why people are receiving these unsolicited packages,” said Denise Thiede, the agency’s seed unit supervisor. “Until we know more, we encourage people to contact us because of the risk they may pose to Minnesota agriculture and our natural landscapes.”
The packages have various markings and indicate overseas origins.
Officials are asking recipients to keep the packages and contact the Arrest the Pest line at 888-545-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to send them in.
The Minnesota agency is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify and destroy the seeds.