In this file:
· U.S. warns against planting unsolicited seeds from China
· Did you get mystery seeds in the mail?
· 3 tips from USDA on suspicious seed packets
U.S. warns against planting unsolicited seeds from China
By Tom Polansek, Reuters
via Yahoo News - July 28, 2020
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is warning Americans not to plant unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to be arriving from China.
States stretching from Washington to Virginia have also told residents not to put the seeds in the ground, after they arrived in the mailboxes of people who did not order them. Officials said the seeds could grow invasive species that threaten crops or livestock.
The USDA said on Tuesday it was collecting the seeds and would test them to determine if they were a concern to agriculture or the environment. The agency is working with states and the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection to investigate the packages, according to a statement.
The USDA said it had no evidence the shipments are something other than a "brushing scam," in which people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales.
The packages "appear to be coming from China," according to the USDA. On Monday, the agency said it was "aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China."
Relations between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated this year to what experts say is their lowest level in decades over issues ranging from trade and technology to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday China's postal service strictly abides by restrictions on sending seeds.
Records on the packages appear to have been falsified, according to checks by China's postal service, which has asked for them to be sent to China for investigation, he said at a daily news briefing.
U.S. states, including Washington and Alabama, labeled the shipments as "agricultural smuggling." Photos distributed by state agriculture departments show seeds...
Did you get mystery seeds in the mail?
Updated: List of states reporting mystery seeds increases. Don't open the bags. Call your state agriculture department instead.
Jul 28, 2020
Have you received an unsolicited package of seeds in the mail? If so, you're not alone.
Officials in many states, including Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Kansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, California, Arizona, Wisconsin and Delaware, have received reports from residents of unsolicited packages of seeds arriving at their doorsteps. It appears the seeds are from China.
Any person receiving a package of seeds they did not order should avoid planting the seeds and call their state agriculture department or USDA.
“We’re uncertain what these seeds may be and why people are receiving these unsolicited packages,” said Denise Thiede, Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Seed Unit Supervisor. “Until we know more, we encourage people to contact us because of the risk they may pose to Minnesota agriculture and our natural landscapes.”
Minnesotans should do the following if they have received unsolicited packages of seeds:
· Do not throw away the package or its contents.
· Do not plant the seeds.
· Contact Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684 or email@example.com and provide your name, contact information, and the date the package was received.
Officials will coordinate shipping the packaging and contents to the MDA Seed Program.
The MDA is working with USDA's Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Program on identification and destruction of the seeds.
In North Dakota, several reports have been received and residents are encouraged to:
In Indiana ...
In Iowa ...
In Wisconsin ...
In Louisiana ...
more, including package photos
3 tips from USDA on suspicious seed packets
USDA is collecting seed packages and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern.
via BEEF Magazine - Jul 28, 2020
USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and state departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
As of July 27, officials in at least 15 states had received reports from residents of unsolicited packages of seeds arriving at their homes.
USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to:
1. Immediately contact their state plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director.
2. Hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your state department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions.
3. Not plant seeds from unknown origins.
At this time, USDA...