TAMPA (WFLA) – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is asking Floridians who received “suspicious seed packets” that appear to be coming from China not to plant them.
The seed packets, which may arrive unexpectedly in packages bearing Chinese characters, may bear the name China Post, and may be labeled as jewelry, have been reported in multiple states including Virginia, Kansas, Washington, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, and others.
As of July 27, FDACS has received at least 160 reports from Florida residents reporting having received suspicious seed packages. The type of the seed is unknown at this time.
“Plant seeds from unknown sources may introduce dangerous pathogens, diseases, or invasive species into Florida, putting agriculture and our state’s plant, animal, and human health at risk,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “Anyone receiving these suspicious seed packets should not open them, should not plant them, should limit contact with them, and should report them immediately to both our department and USDA officials.”
The department said anyone who has received the seeds should not open them, plant them or throw them in the trash that will be land filled. The packets should be reported to the FDACS Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517 or DPIhelpline@FDACS.gov or contact the USDA APHIS Anti-Smuggling Hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov