SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Agriculture officials in Georgia and South Carolina are warning residents of unsolicited packages containing seeds.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) says they’ve been notified of several residents who have received packages that appear to have come from China. GDA says the packages may contain seeds for invasive plant species.
WSAV has learned of at least one Chatham County resident who received an unsolicited package of seeds. The item was delivered in early 2020.
“At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag.”
Similar reports have been made to agriculture officials across the country, including in Virginia, Utah, Kentucky and Washington State.
Likewise, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) and Clemson University’s Regulatory Services division are working together to investigate the “mystery seed mailings.”
“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.”
SCDA advises South Carolinians to report the seed mailings to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance program at their website, by phone at 800-877-3835 or by email at SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.