MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL) — The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries have received reports of multiple Alabama residents receiving packages from China containing “unsolicited” origin seeds through the United States Postal Service.
Officials say that the packing is often labeled as jewelry, incorrectly. Residents from other states, including Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Washington State have also reported residents receiving the “suspicious” seed packages. They say the practice is known as agricultural smuggling.
“We urge all residents to be on the lookout for similar packages,” said Rick Pate, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries. “These seeds could be invasive or be harmful to livestock.”
ADAI is asking Alabama residents who have received the packages to follow these instructions:
- DO NOT plant the seeds and if they are in a sealed package, do not open the sealed package. Also, DO NOT dispose of the seeds.
- Report suspicious seed deliveries to USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and maintain the seeds and packaging until USDA provides further instructions. This may be used for evidence.
The USDA is expected to release official guidance, including instructions for reporting unsolicited seeds. The instructions will be shared by ADAI as soon as possible.