Frankfurt, Kentucky – Agricultural officials of several states on Monday issued warnings about the unwanted shipment of foreign seeds and advised people not to plant it. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said that in Kentucky, the state’s Department of Agriculture was informed that many residents received unsolicited seed packets sent by mail, which originated in China.
The types of seeds are unknown and can be harmful, Quarles said, noting that they should not be planted.
“We don’t know what they are, and we can’t do any harm to agricultural production in the United States,” he said. “We have the safest, abundant food supply in the world and we need to maintain it that way.”
Quarks said anyone in Kentucky who receives packages of foreign or unfamiliar seeds should contact the state’s Department of Agriculture immediately.
“At this time, we do not have enough information to know whether it is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam or an act of agricultural bioterrorism,” he said. “Unsolicited seeds can be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment.”
According to the Reuters news agency, residents of at least eight states have now received suspicious packages of seeds originating from China, in each of which officials have been urged not to plant saplings.
Reuters said the USDA confirmed in a statement that it was working with the Department of Homeland Security and state officials to prevent any illegal seeds entering the country and to protect U.S. agriculture.
“The agency was aware that people across the country had received unsolicited packages from China in recent times,” Reuters said in a statement.
In North Carolina, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it was contacted by several people who received seed shipments that they had not ordered. The agency said the shipments were possibly the products of an international internet scam known as “brushing”.
Phil Wilson, director of the state’s plant industry division, said, “According to the Better Business Bureau, foreign, third-party vendors use your address and Amazon information to generate a fake sale and positive reviews to increase their product ratings.” We do.”
New York Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said in a statement on Monday that his office had also ignored “some” inquiries from residents who allegedly “sent packages from China containing ornaments but actually the plant Has seeds. “
Ball confirmed that the USDA was investigating, and asked residents not to handle or plant the seeds.
He said that whoever received the packet of seeds “should not have access to children and pets, they should be stored safely,” and then to the USDA with their full names and phone numbers, pictures erich.l Email immediately at .glasgow @ usda.gov. Packaging, “and any other relevant information.”
Maryland agricultural officials confirmed in a tweet that they were working with the USDA to investigate seeds sent to residents there.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture issued a similar warning last week, after “many” residents again received unwanted seeds.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said, “The types of seeds in the package are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. Packages were sent by post and may have sugar written on them.” Do not plant these seeds. ”