Digging into the dangers behind unexpected seed packages from China

Local News

BURLINGAME, Kan. (KSNT) – A local woman is one of the people heeding a warning from the Kansas Department of Agriculture about mysterious packages of seeds that are showing up in the mail.

Joetta Wyatt loves spending time in her garden at her home in Burlingame. But the mysterious seeds that showed up in her mailbox on Monday won’t be going in there.

“I like to plant seeds and everything but no,” Wyatt said.

That’s because she saw the warning KSNT shared from the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Heather Lansdowne, a spokeswoman with the department said a few days ago people started calling them about mysterious packages that appeared to be sent from China with seeds they never ordered.

They don’t know what they are exactly, but they could be dangerous.

“Don’t plant the seeds,” Lansdowne said. “Planting seeds that are unknown, of an unknown origin means that you’re risking several things that could be a threat to plant health. Those things include invasive species, seed borne illnesses or diseases in the plants, pests invasive pests.”

Any danger to Kansas agriculture is serious.

“Agriculture is critical in Kansas and so protecting agriculture is important to protecting the economy of the state,” Lansdowne said.

It’s a warning Wyatt is taking seriously.

“I thought well I’m not going to keep it around because I have grandkids and dogs and I don’t want nothing else to happen,” Wyatt said. “It’s already bad enough with this virus. We don’t need anything else to happen.”

It’s not just happening in Kansas. The department of agriculture said they’ve heard of the exact same thing happening in states like Washington, Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia – just to name a few.

Now they’re working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to try and figure out exactly what’s at the root of this mysterious seed problem.

If you get a package of these seeds, don’t plant them! Instead, you should call KDA’s plant protection and weed control program at (785) 564-6698, email them at KDA.PPWC@ks.gov, or go to the complaint reporting portion of the KDA website: report a seed complaint.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is asking people to keep the package contents and the mailing envelope that it came in until they get more guidance from the U.S.D.A. They are collecting contact information from people so that they can inform them of the next steps once they figure them out.

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