People across the country have reported receiving suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. So far, reports of unsolicited seeds have been made in the following states (and likely more): Washington, Virginia, Louisiana, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, Utah, Arizona, and Ohio.
The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) is coordinating with USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and state departments of agriculture to determine the type and origin of seeds that have allegedly entered the U.S. from China.
If you receive unsolicited seeds, do not open the package or plant the seeds. Limit your contact with the seed package, and immediately contact your State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Seeds of unknown origin may constitute agricultural smuggling, be invasive, introduce pathogens, toxins, or plant and animal diseases, and could pose a threat to plant, animal, and human health. For more information, see the statement from APHIS.
In addition to the U.S., the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is investigating reports of individuals receiving unsolicited packages of seeds, it said in a statement.
“Do not plant seeds from unknown origins. Unauthorized seeds could be the seeds of invasive plants, or carry plant pests, which can be harmful when introduced into Canada,” the CFIA is advising. “These species can invade agricultural and natural areas, causing serious damage to our plant resources.”
If you receive a seed package that you did not order, please contact your regional CFIA office immediately. Keep the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label until a CFIA inspector contacts you with further instructions.
Editor’s Note: This piece was updated on July 29, 2020 at 3:00 PM.