The Indian River County Emergency Services Department is warning residents not to open unsolicited packages from China. Plant seeds have recently been showing up in people’s mailboxes coming from China.
“Floridians are reporting receiving an unsolicited package containing plant seeds. These packages are arriving from China and officials are advising not to open, plant, or come in contact with the seed packets,” The Indian River County Emergency Services Department said in a statement.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Service warns that this has been happening all over the United States. It is known as agricultural smuggling.
“USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China,” the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said in a statement.
What should you do if you receive an unsolicited package of seeds from another country?
- Do not open the sealed package.
- Hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, as they may be needed as evidence.
- Report it to USDA or FDACS.
- Never plant seeds from an unknown origin.
How to contact the USDA or FDACS
Contact the USDA APHIS Anti-Smuggling Hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or email SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov or the FDACS Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517 or email DPIhelpline@FDACS.gov.