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State officials: Report mystery seeds arriving by mail

Ron Musselman
York Dispatch
Mystery seeds labeled as jewelry are being mailed from overseas to consumers in the United States,  leading to the state Department of Agriculture to issue a warning.

Mystery seeds labeled as jewelry are being mailed from overseas to consumers in the United States, leading the state Department of Agriculture to issue a warning.

State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding on Tuesday warned consumers to throw away and report seeds that had not been ordered or are mislabeled shipped from overseas, especially from China. 

The seeds may contain plant diseases, weeds or invasive plants that could harm Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and ecosystem, officials said.

“Seeds sold in Pennsylvania are rigorously tested to ensure that they are genetically pure and regulated to ensure that what’s on the label is what’s in the package,” Redding said in a news release. 

“Planting seeds without knowing what they are can wreak havoc with our environment, destroy agricultural crops and incur costly control efforts for years to come.”

The seeds have appeared in Americans' mailboxes increasingly in recent weeks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has opened an investigation and warned people not to plant them.

Anyone who has unexpectedly received seeds in the mail from oversees is urged to report the incident to the USDA's confidential antismuggling hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.

— Ron Musselman can be reached at rmusselman@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @ronmusselman8.