Mysterious seeds showing up in Texas mailboxes, USDA says report them

Mysterious seeds showing up in Texas mailboxes, USDA says report them

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas A&M Agrilife Extension says the United States Department of Agriculture is on alert as Texans join other states with people receiving mysterious bags of seeds in the mail, and they’re encouraging you to get in contact with them if they come to your home.

Dr. Kevin Ong, Ph.D., A Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service plant pathologist and leader of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab in College Station, says the USDA is working with the Texas Department of Agriculture to see where these unsolicited seeds are coming from.

“We know it came to people who didn’t order them so at least that’s what the people are reporting... that they’re getting seeds without remembering ordering them.”

The packaging labels them as jewelry and shows they’re coming from China and because agencies don’t know what they are, they’re unsure of the risks they pose.

Dr. Ong says if the seeds are weed seeds, that could be a problem and deplete natural resources here and threaten other native plants and habitats.

There’s an entire department of the USDA called Plant Protection and Quarantine that makes sure things are imported correctly into the United States so our natural resources here stay safe.

“They are the group in charge of protecting our agriculture and making sure to keep basically weeds, pathogens,and pests out that we don’t find in this country.”

Dr. Ong says he’s not sure how many Texans have made reports, but is encouraging people that come across them to not throw them away. Rather, get in touch with the USDA’s Plant and Animal Inspection Service by calling the Texas PPQ state operations coordinator, Carol Matloch at carol.m.motloch@usda.gov .

You are asked to include a package description and a photo of the label and seeds if you can. 

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