By: Stephanie Karhoff, OSU Extension Williams County
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has been notified that several Ohio residents have received unsolicited packages in the mail containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are currently unknown and may contain invasive plant species. Similar seed packets have been received recently in several other locations across the United States.
If you receive a package of this type, please DO NOT plant these seeds. If they are in sealed packaging, do not open the sealed package. You can report the seeds to ODA online here or you may contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Anti-smuggling Hotline by calling 800-877-3835 or by emailing SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. Also, if possible, please retain the original packaging, as that information may be useful to trade compliance officers as they work through this issue.
Unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, contain noxious weeds, could introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock. Invasive species and noxious weeds can displace native plants and increase costs of food production. ODA and APHIS work hard to prevent the introduction of invasive species and protect Ohio agriculture. All foreign seeds shipped to the United States should have a phytosanitary certificate which guarantees the seeds meet important requirements.
We will have the latest information regarding this investigation at https://agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/divisions/plant-health/resources/seed-reporter.