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Unsolicited packets of 'mystery' seeds from China have been turning up at Minnesota homes

Don't open them, state officials warn.
Author:
Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 2.00.50 PM

Officials have issued a warning to residents after several reports of packages of seeds that appear to come from China being delivered to homes in Minnesota.

The reports in Minnesota follow a string of reports in other states including Louisiana, Utah, Virginia, and Washington, with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture unsure as to what the seeds are and where they're coming from.

Health officials say that some of the packages appear to originate in China, while one of the images shared by the department also shows a return address for Kyrgyzstan, which borders China.

Their arrival at homes in Minnesota have been the subject of discussion in a number of Twin Cities and state-based gardening groups on social media.

The MDA wants anyone who receives a package to contact them and send them in for evaluation.

Needless to say, they shouldn't be planted. 

China seed packet

"We’re uncertain what these seeds may be and why people are receiving these unsolicited packages,” said Denise Thiede, MDA’s Seed Unit Supervisor. 

"Until we know more, we encourage people to contact us because of the risk they may pose to Minnesota agriculture and our natural landscapes."

Anyone who receives the package should keep a hold of the package – don't throw it out – and contact the MDA Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684 or email arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us, providing a name, contact information, and the date the package was received.

The MDA will then coordinate the shipping of the package and the seeds. The MDA is also working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Program to identify and destroy the seeds.

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