Friday, August 14, 2020

Public asked to turn in suspicious seeds

by Conner Vanderweyst
| July 31, 2020 12:04 AM

OLYMPIA — Members of the public who find suspicious seeds from other countries are being asked by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) to turn them in as they may have been shipped into the United States illegally.

According to a press release from WSDA, residents throughout the country have reported receiving packages that contain unidentifiable seeds that are labeled as something else, usually as jewelry. Some people that reported receiving the seeds indicated that they did order them but did not know they would be arriving from another country, others said they had not ordered any seeds.

The unidentifiable seeds are considered agricultural smuggling, which bypasses the safeguards that prevent invasive species, plant diseases and pests, or plants that could harm livestock from establishing in the country. Smuggled seeds or plants could do serious harm to farms, gardens and the environment, the press release stated.

The USDA is instructing those who received packages to place the seeds and their packaging in a plastic bag, place the bag in a mailing envelope and send to USDA for further investigations. Washington residents can send any suspicious seeds to USDA-APHIS-PPQ – Attn: Jason Allen, Seattle Plant Inspection Station, 835 South 192nd St., Bldg D, Ste. 1600, Seatac, WA 98148.

Any planted seeds should be left where they are and the APHIS state plant health director should be contacted for guidance; anyone who has already disposed of the seeds does not need to take any further action, the press release explained.