The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) said mysterious packages of seeds that appear to be from China are showing up on the doorsteps of residents.
The unsolicited seed packets have been arriving in Minnesotans’ mail in packages labeled as jewelry, with instructions for planting the seeds written in English. The MDA has asked Minnesotans who receive the packages to refrain from planting the seeds and contact the agency, which is currently working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify and destroy the contents.
“We’re uncertain what these seeds may be and why people are receiving these unsolicited packages. Until we know more, we encourage people to contact us because of the risk they may pose to Minnesota agriculture and our natural landscapes,” Denise Thiede, the MDA’s Seed Unit supervisor, said in a press release.
In addition to the package with a Chinese label, the MDA released an image of a package with a return address in Kyrgyzstan.
Minnesotans have received unsolicited packages of seeds appearing to come from China. If you've gotten unsolicited seeds:— MN Agriculture Dept (@MNagriculture) July 27, 2020
-Don't throw them away.
-Don't plant the seeds.
-Contact Arrest the Pest at 1-888-545-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org
More: https://t.co/CmeMHWUNjS#MNAg pic.twitter.com/yLIAMaZLyn
Minnesota isn’t the only state where these packages have been reported. Washington, Louisiana, Utah, and Virginia have received reports of similar packages showing up, similarly mislabeled as jewelry. The seeds received are apparently of various types.
We have received reports of people receiving seeds from China that they did not order. If you receive them – don't plant them. Report to @USDA_APHIS at https://t.co/0U53rbAiHs pic.twitter.com/Y4yAKv5bk7— WA St Dept of Agr (@WSDAgov) July 24, 2020
The MDA said it will coordinate shipping of the packaging and contents to the department’s Seed Unit, and asked Minnesotans who receive a package to not throw it away.