UPDATE as of 8.3.20:
Despite rumors that they could be agents of bioterrorism, it turns out they’re run-of-the-mill seeds in the mail. Mustard, cabbage, morning glory, mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, hibiscus, and rose were among the types identified. They were found by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Testing continues on thousands of samples turned in by recipients. So far the USDA hasn’t found evidence indicating that the packages were suspicious. So far, they believe it is a scam by online retailers to pump up their e-commerce seller ratings.
Suspicious Seeds in Mail
What to Do
- Do not open the seed packet and avoid opening packaging or mailing materials, if possible
- Do not plant the seeds or put them in the trash that will be landfilled
- Limit contact with the seed package until further guidance on handling, disposal, or collection is available from the USDA
- Report the seed package to the FDACS Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517 or DPIhelpline@FDACS.gov
- Report the seed package to the USDA APHIS Anti-Smuggling Hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov
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