Seeds like the one above have been arriving unsolicited in peoples' mail boxes in several states.
Submitted by Michele McDonald, UGA Extension Pickens County
The Georgia Department of Agriculture is warning Georgians about unsolicited packages of seeds received through the mail. The seed packets, which may arrive unexpectedly in packages bearing Chinese characters, may bear the name China Post and be labeled as accessories, have been reported in multiple states including Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Kansas, Washington, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, and others.
The introduction of plant seeds into the United States is tightly regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Seeds of unknown origin may constitute agricultural smuggling, may be invasive, may introduce pathogens, toxins, or plant
and animal diseases, may pose a risk of foodborne illness, and may pose a threat to plant, animal, and human health. GDA is working closely to receive guidance from the USDA and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the lead regulatory body on this issue, in consultation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Plant seeds from unknown sources may introduce dangerous pathogens, diseases, or invasive species into Georgia, putting agriculture and our state’s plant, animal, and human health at risk.
“At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black says. “If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag.”
What To Do: Anyone receiving unsolicited seed packages from other countries should follow these directions:
•Do not open the seed packet and avoid opening outer packaging or mailing materials, if possible.
•Do not plant the seeds or discard them in trash that will be landfilled.
•Limit contact with the seed package until further guidance on handling, disposal, or collection is available from the USDA.