“DO NOT plant them”: Officials Warn Of Unsolicited Seeds From China Mailed To Texans
Officials with the Texas Department of Agriculture are urging Texans to take extreme precaution when receiving seed packets from China that they didn't order.
According to a press release, the packages are often disguised as jewelry, but when opened contain seeds that could contain harmful invasive species or be otherwise unsafe.
“I am urging folks to take this matter seriously,” Commissioner Sid Miller said. “An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. TDA has been working closely with USDA to analyze these unknown seeds so we can protect Texas residents.”
An invasive species is an organism that is not native to a particular region. The introduction of this “alien species” can cause economic or environmental harm. In agriculture, an invasive species can destroy native crops, introduce disease to native plants and may be dangerous for livestock.
If you receive one of the unsolicited packages, here's what you need to do:
- DO NOT plant them and if they are in sealed packaging, don't open the sealed package.
- DO NOT flush the seeds or throw them away.
- Report the package as agricultural smuggling to the Antismuggling Hotline number at 800-877-3835. After reporting them, there will be instructions on where to turn them in.
- You can report the package via email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.
USDA will make every attempt to protect the confidentiality of any information sources during an investigation within the extent of the law.
The seeds have also been spotted in Oklahoma. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry issued a similar warning to residents there on Monday.