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Is someone sending you seeds from another country? Here’s what to do

Staff Writer
Northwest Florida Daily News
Northwest Florida Daily News

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension in Okaloosa County is still getting reports of people receiving seeds, unsolicited, from other countries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified 14 different kinds of seeds in the mysterious packages that appear to have been sent unsolicited from China to people around the country.

RELATED: At least 160 reports of mysterious seeds in Florida

RELATED: USDA identifies some of the mysterious, unsolicited seeds after all 50 states issue warnings

All 50 states have issued warnings about the packages some of which contain flowering plants like morning glory, hibiscus and roses, according to Osama El-Lissy, with the Plant Protection program of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. El-Lissy said other packages contain vegetables like cabbage and herbs including mint, sage, rosemary, and lavender.

The UF IFAS Extension office has outlined the following steps if you are a recipient of the seeds:

– Do not open the seed packet and avoid opening outer packaging or mailing materials, if possible.

– Place the seed packet AND mailing materials into a sealable plastic bag – this is important to determining the origin of the seeds.

– Do not plant the seeds or discard them in trash that will be landfilled

– Report the seed package to the FDACS Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517 or DPIhelpline@FDACS.gov

After reporting the seed package, an Inspector from the FDACS Division of Plant Industry will contact seed recipients to schedule a safe, contactless collection of the seeds, packaging, and mailing materials.