UPDATE: Baton Rouge, La. (September 22, 2020) – Nearly two months after the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) first reported that Louisiana residents received unsolicited packages of seeds originating from China, there is an update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Forestry (USDA).
“According to our contacts at the USDA, so far, there have been very few weeds or species containing diseases which is good news. Anytime a foreign specimen is introduced, there is always a chance it may pose a risk to the agricultural industry or the environment and that is why it is so important we identify what is in the packages,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M.
At this time, there have been approximately 400 specimens received in Louisiana and turned over to the USDA. Approximately 16,000 specimens have been received nationwide and about 5,000 species of seeds that have been identified.
The USDA reports 44 countries of origin have been identified and e-commerce companies such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy continue to work with the USDA on restrictions in selling foreign seeds or plants.
If you receive unsolicited seeds, visit the LDAF website at
https://www.ldaf.state.la.us/news/unsolicited-seeds-from-china/ and fill out an online collection form or call 225-925-4733. LDAF inspectors will collect the seeds and the USDA will test them for positive identification.
KADN/KLAF- For the past few weeks, mysterious seeds from China have been showing up in mailboxes all across the country and even here in Acadiana.
Well viewers are still receiving those unexpected and unwanted packages and officials at the Department of Agriculture and Forestry say whatever you do do not plant them in the ground and give them a call to pick them up.
“In the first several days we had hundreds of phone calls,” said Dr. Mike Strain, the Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry,
He ￼says months later those packages keep coming.
“We’ve gotten 900 inquiries so far we’ve turned in over 300 packets of seeds to the USDA￼￼,” said Dr. Strain.
Since this week The USDA has received over 3000 packets of seeds from all across the states but has only been able to look at 10% of those so far.
“There are several fruits and vegetables, they have been invasive weeds and then they have a class of unidentified seeds￼￼,” said Dr. Strain.
His worry is the invasive plants could hurt Louisiana’s native plant species or the seeds could have a contagious disease to other plants.
“If you get a new plant with a disease a plant plague or whatever it could destroy your crops,” said Dr. Strain.
If you do get these seeds don’t plant them, call the agriculture department to come pick them up and definitely don’t throw them away.
“We don’t want for by chance get into to get into some type of landfill and start growing.￼,” said Dr. Strain.
Unfortunately, Dr. Strain says people across the state have already planted the seeds.
“A number of those seeds are planted in our area,” said DR. Strain. “We are in the process of destroying those plants to make sure they don’t grow again and they don’t spread anything.”
While the USDA is still investigating why the seeds are being sent, officials say they don’t have any evidence that it’s anything other than an internet “brushing scam,” where sellers send unsolicited items to unsuspecting consumers and they post false reviews to boost sales.
That number to call is (225) 925-4733. LDAF inspectors will collect the seeds and test them for positive identification.