Tennesseans warned to not plant unsolicited packages of seeds received in the mail

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said Monday it is aware Tennessee citizens are receiving seeds in the mail from outside the United States that they did not order.

The department said imported plant materials—including seeds—go through rigorous testing and inspection to ensure they are not carrying any plant disease or pests and do not pose any threat to the environment and residents’ health.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working with its partners at USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to determine what should be done with these seeds.

In the meantime, if citizens receive seeds they did not order, they should not plant or handle them. Seal the seeds into two plastic sandwich bags and hang onto them. Residents should report the seeds to the department here.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a warning Friday urging residents in the state to not plant seeds from unsolicited packages as they could be invasive plant species that “wreak havoc on the environment.”

Several Virginia residents have informed the department that they have received packages in the mail containing seeds that appear to have come from China. In an email, the department states that the type of seeds in the packages are unknown and “may be invasive plant species.”

The packages could have Chinese writing on them, according to the department.

“Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops,” VDACS wrote in the email. “Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.”

*WRIC contributed to this report.

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