Mystery seeds

Some Minnesota residents have received unsolicited seed packages from China recently.

What are these seeds, and where did they come from?

That's the question some Minnesotans — and governmental agencies — have been asking since mystery packets of seeds have been arriving in the mail.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture said it has received reports of residents receiving the unsolicited packages of seeds appearing to come from China. Officials in other states, including Louisiana, Utah, Virginia, and Washington, have reported similar situations.

Anyone receiving a package of seeds they did not order should not plant the seeds and should contact the MDA.

“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.”

Minnesotans should do the following if they have received unsolicited packages of seeds:

  • Do not throw away the package or its contents.
  • Do not plant the seeds.
  • Contact Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684 or arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us and provide your name, contact information, and the date the package was received.

Officials will coordinate shipping the packaging and contents to the MDA Seed Program.

The MDA is working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Program on identification and destruction of the seeds.

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