(WKBN) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture is warning Ohioans not to plant any seeds that come from unsolicited packages in the mail.
Officials have received reports that the seeds appear to have originated in China and may contain invasive plant species. Similar seed packets have been received recently in several other locations across the United States.
If you receive such a package, the Ohio Department of Agriculture asks that you do not plant the seeds or open the sealed package. Instead, report the seeds to ODA online or contact the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Anti-smuggling Hotline by calling 800-877-3835 or by emailing SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture asks that you try to retain the original packaging, as the information may be useful to trade compliance officers during their investigation.
According to the Department of Agriculture, 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 the cost of food production.
All foreign seeds shipped to the United States should have a phytosanitary certificate that guarantees the seeds meet important requirements.