Oregon officials warn of mysterious seeds sent from China

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Agriculture is adding to a growing number of states warning about mysterious seeds sent from China to Americans.

Agriculture officials in multiple states have issued warnings about unsolicited shipments of foreign seeds and advised people not to plant them over concerns that they could be an invasive plant species.

In Oregon, if you have received a package of seeds that you did not order, please include the packaging that includes the return address and send the shipment to:

Oregon Department of Agriculture

Plant Protection and Conservation

635 Capitol Street NE, Suite 100

Salem, Oregon 97301

If you have already opened the seed package, please place the entire package in a plastic bag and seal it and then send it to ODA. Do not plant any of the seeds. If you already planted the seeds, please contact Dr. Helmuth Rogg, ODA Plant Programs Director at 503-986-4662 or hrogg@oda.state.or.us.

In Kentucky, the agriculture department says it was notified that several Kentucky residents received unsolicited seed packets sent by mail that appeared to have originated in China. Many of the packets have Chinese writing on them.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said Monday the types of seeds are unknown and could be harmful. He stressed that the seeds should not be planted.

Several Virginia residents have informed the department that they have received packages in the mail containing seeds that appear to have come from China. In an email, the department states that the type of seeds in the packages are unknown and “may be invasive plant species.” (photos provided by the VDACS)
Several Virginia residents have received packages in the mail containing seeds that appear to have come from China. In an email, the department states that the type of seeds in the packages are unknown and “may be invasive plant species.” (photos provided by the VDACS)

In North Carolina, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it was contacted by numerous people who received seed shipments they did not order.

Departments of Agriculture in Tennessee, Virginia and Ohio have warned about the seed packets as well.

Unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, contain noxious weeds, could introduce diseases to local plants or could be harmful to livestock.

Invasive species and noxious weeds can displace native plants and increase costs of food production. All foreign seeds shipped to the United States should have a phytosanitary certificate which guarantees the seeds meet U.S. requirements.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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