More today on the mystery seeds showing up on doorsteps around the country from China. Utah agriculture officials have done testing and they do contain a plant considered a noxious weed in the Midwest.
Robert Hoggard, director of Plant Industry at the Utah Department of Agriculture, says they have already identified several seeds.
“There’s been some roses, some rose species. A lespedeza species, which is noxious in some of the Midwestern states, specifically Kansas, it’s a Chinese bush clover. There’s one that’s an Asian herb that’s in the mint family. And then there’s been flower species, some of those that we already have in the United States and wouldn’t be a problem. But, some of these really are a concern, we don’t want to get those established here.”
Hoggard says seed packets have come from Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but the majority are from China.
Utah Ag Commissioner Logan Wilde says they are investigating with the Department of Agriculture and Homeland Security and Border Protection, but say it looks to be simply a scam.
“At this we do not have any evidence to indicate that this is something other than a brushing scam where people receive unsolicited items from sellers who then post false customer reviews to boost their sales.”
“We’re asking people to not throw them away or the packages because if they end up in a landfill, they could sprout,” said Jennifer Holton, director of communications, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). “We don’t know what they are. We’re asking people to hang on to them so we can start putting together a good tracker and provide that information to USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Currently MDARD doesn’t have an exact count of how many Michiganders have received these seeds, but there have been multiple reports. If you receive a package of seeds, you can report them to MDARD.
MDARD Customer Service Center: 800-292-3939
MDARD Website: www.michigan.gov/mdard
MDARD Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MIDeptofAgriculture