The Star-Herald

Don’t plant mystery seeds, state warns

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is urging residents not to plant any unsolicited packages they may receive containing seeds, purportedly sent from China. 

In Maine and across the U.S., people are reporting receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds in the mail. 

The department is instructing seed recipients to visit Maine.gov/dacf/seeds and follow the instructions outlined on the form. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine Smuggling, Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit is currently investigating this situation across the nation.

Anyone who receives these seeds should hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, and refer to the form referenced above.

While the exact types of seeds in the packages are unknown, said department officials, the seeds are thought to possibly be either invasive or pose a plant health risk, and not believed to be harmful to humans or pets. The seeds could pose a significant risk to agriculture or the environment. 

The seeds are usually sent in white packages displaying Chinese lettering and the words “China Post.” Most recipients say they did not order anything, and that the packaging was labeled as jewelry. Some recipients have reported ordering seeds on Amazon and receiving these seeds.

Recipients are asked to place the seeds and shipping envelope (if available) into a resealable baggie and mail them to the following address for identification and processing.

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