Have you received a strange package of seeds from China? State officials say do not plant them.
In fact, do not open them, do not plant them and do not discard them into the trash. Don’t do anything with them until you contact the Department of Agriculture and have instructions on what to do with them from the U.S. officials. Report them to the FDACS Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517 or DPIhelpline@FDACS.gov. Also, report the seed package to the USDA APHIS Anti-Smuggling Hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. Be prepared to provide one’s name, physical address, phone number, and email address for contact purposes.
Why the panic? There have been over 160 reports from Floridians that these suspicious seed packages with Chinese characters, possibly labeled with the name China Post, and some labeled as jewelry, have been received. The U.S. regulates introduction of foreign plants and seeds, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t know what these seeds are yet. These reports also come from multiple states.
In a message from the Florida Department of Agriculture:
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. FDACS 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.