More today on the mystery seeds showing up on doorsteps around the country from China. Utah agriculture officials have done testing and they do contain a plant considered a noxious weed in the Midwest.
Robert Hoggard, director of Plant Industry at the Utah Department of Agriculture, says they have already identified several seeds.
“There’s been some roses, some rose species. A lespedeza species, which is noxious in some of the Midwestern states, specifically Kansas, it’s a Chinese bush clover. There’s one that’s an Asian herb that’s in the mint family. And then there’s been flower species, some of those that we already have in the United States and wouldn’t be a problem. But, some of these really are a concern, we don’t want to get those established here.”
Hoggard says seed packets have come from Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but the majority are from China.
Utah Ag Commissioner Logan Wilde says they are investigating with the Department of Agriculture and Homeland Security and Border Protection, but say it looks to be simply a scam.
“At this we do not have any evidence to indicate that this is something other than a brushing scam where people receive unsolicited items from sellers who then post false customer reviews to boost their sales.”
Indiana Congressman Jim Banks, a Republican, has sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking for the Department of Justice to investigate if it is just a brushing scam or if it’s an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to sabotage the American ag industry.
Anyone who receives unsolicited seeds should:
- Keep the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, but do not open the seed packet;
- Place all contents in a zip-top bag, then place the bag in an envelope or small box and mail it to:
USDA APHIS PPQ
State Plant Health Director
3059 N. Morton St.
Franklin, IN 46131
- If you cannot mail the items, do not dispose of them. Keep the seeds, packaging and mailing label and contact the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology at 866-663-9684 or DEPP@dnr.IN.gov.
- Anyone who has already planted seeds should not dispose of the plants or soil. Contact the Indiana DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology at the phone number and email address above.
- Never plant seeds of unknown origin.