Unsolicited seeds ID’d; caution urged

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2020

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Last week, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) received hundreds of reports from citizens who received packages of seeds from China they did not order.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate said ADAI had received 385 reports of unsolicited seed packages delivered in Alabama and field inspectors collected 252 samples with over half of the recipients reporting they ordered seeds online in the past year. Packages have been marked “China Post” and “untracked.” Several packages indicate contents are “jewelry”.

Samples were analyzed for identification and tested for unknown compounds, noxious weed seed, and invasive species.

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Seeds identified so far have been 50% flower seeds, 41% vegetable seeds and 9% herbs. Of the 17 samples tested for dangerous compounds, none have been detected.

Packages have been reported in 56 counties. Top counties include Baldwin, Jefferson, Mobile, Montgomery, Madison, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, Houston, Lee and Cullman.

The ADAI asks that those who receive unsolicited seed package report at www.agi.alabama.gov/reportseeds or call 334-240-7304.

Those who receive unsolicited seed packages should not open the seed packets, not plant the seeds, not discard them and keep the packaging, including the mailing label.