Seeds from China? Leave them alone, ag commissioner says

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has issued a warning about reports of foreign seeds being shipped unsolicited to Kentuckians.


Over the weekend, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture was notified of several Kentucky residents who had received unsolicited seed packets that appear to have originated by China, making Kentucky the fourth state to receive such shipments. The types of seeds are unknown and may be harmful.  The packages were sent by mail.


Quarles says if you receive a package of foreign or unfamiliar seeds, do not plant them, and report it to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture immediately.


“At this point in time, we don’t have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam or an act of agricultural bio-terrorism,” he said.  “Unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment.  We don’t know what they are, and we cannot risk any harm whatsoever to agricultural production in the United States. We have the safest, most abundant food supply in the world, and we need to keep it that way.”


Individuals who have received suspicious packages with seeds should put them in an airtight bag and ship them to the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's division of Plant Protection Quarantine at USDA-APHIS PPQ, P.O. Box 475, Hebron, Kentucky 41048.


Individuals are also encouraged to contact the Kentucky Department of Agriculture at (502) 573-0282 or by e-mail at ag.web@ky.gov.


Watch a video message from Commissioner Quarles.

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