MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) has received multiple reports of “unsolicited” China origin seeds being delivered to residents across the state through the United States Postal Service (USPS). The packing is often mislabeled as “jewelry.”
So far, residents from several other states including, Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Washington State have reported receiving suspicious packages of seeds. This practice is known as agricultural smuggling.
“We urge all residents to be on the lookout for similar packages. These seeds could be invasive or be harmful to livestock,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate.
Currently, we are asking recipients of “unsolicited seed” to follow the instructions below:
1). 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.
2). 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.
Call 1-800-877-3835 or email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. For more details visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/sa_sitc/ct_antismuggling [aphis.usda.gov].
USDA will be releasing official guidance (including additional instructions for reporting unsolicited seeds). These instructions will be shared as soon as possible.
Photos of packaging and unsolicited seeds received by Alabama residents are attached.