COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Have you gotten a package of seeds in the mail you weren’t expecting? The South Carolina Department of Agriculture says if you have, you’re not alone.
Reports of residents receiving packages of seeds through the mail they did not order are being investigated by the Dept. of Ag and Clemson University’s Regulatory Services division.
Officials say the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is collecting reports and coordinating a national investigation.
If you get a package of seeds, officials want you to do the following:
- Do not open the seed packets or handle the seeds.
- Do not plant unidentified seeds. They may be invasive species that could displace or destroy native plants and insects.
- Retain the seeds and packaging and put them in a zip-top bag.
- Contact the USDA APHIS Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance (SITC) program.
“If these seeds should bear invasive species, they may be a threat to our environment and agriculture,” said Steve Cole, director of Clemson’s Regulatory Services unit. “We don’t want unknown species planted or thrown out where they may wind up sprouting in a landfill.”
The packages appear to be sent from China and reports indicate they’ve been delivered to residents in multiple other states including Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
State officials expect the USDA will release more official guidance as soon as possible.