Watch Out For Mysterious Packages Of Seeds From China In Your Mail
US residents have been reporting unsolicited bags of mysterious seeds being delivered to them from China for several weeks. All 50 states have issued warnings to residents to not plant the seeds, including Michigan.
The packages started arriving in July and have shown up in at least 22 states. The government has asked people to not plant the seeds and to seal them in a ziploc bag and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Since the first few packages arrived, the United States Department of Agriculture has identified several of the packages and according to a New York Times article, "Among the plant species botanists have identified so far: cabbage, hibiscus, lavender, mint, morning glory, mustard, rose, rosemary and sage"
There is currently no need to panic if you receive seeds and the USDA says they "are not aware of any human health risks at this time." The major concern is that the seeds may be invasive species not native to North America or that the seeds may contain viruses that might infect other plants.
The USDA released a guide about the seeds and information about what to do if you receive a package of seeds:
"People who have received a package and have additional questions can call their State plant regulatory official, APHIS State plant health director, or the APHIS Customer Call Center at 1- 844-820-2234. This line is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. People who received a package can also email the APHIS Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance unit at SITC.Mail@usda.gov."