Minnesotans are receiving mystery seeds appearing to come from China

Staff Writer
Redwood Falls Gazette
An unsolicited package of seeds sent to a Minnesotan.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been receiving reports of residents receiving unsolicited packages of seeds appearing to come from China.

Officials in other states, including Louisiana, Utah, Virginia, and Washington, have reported similar situations.

Any Minnesotan receiving a package of seeds they did not order should not plant them and should contact the MDA.

“We’re uncertain what these seeds may be and why people are receiving these unsolicited packages,” said Denise Thiede, MDA’s seed unit supervisor. “Until we know more, we encourage people to contact us because of the risk they may pose to Minnesota agriculture and our natural landscapes.”

Minnesotans should do the following if they have received unsolicited packages of seeds:

• Do not throw away the package or its contents.

• Do not plant the seeds.

• Contact Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684 or arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us and provide your name, contact information, as well as the date when the package of seeds was received. 

"People just need to be vigilant and use some common sense if they receive a package of seeds they did not order," Minnesota District 16A Rep. Chris Swedzinski said. "We already have enough problems in our area with Palmer amaranth. The last thing we should be doing is planting some unwanted seeds from China as it could be another noxious weed that is impossible to control."

Officials will coordinate shipping the packaging and contents to the MDA seed program.

The MDA is working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Program on identification as well as the destruction of the seeds.