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Don't plant unwanted seeds that arrive in the mail, Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture warns

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Posted at 2:49 PM, Jul 27, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles is warning Kentuckians of unsolicited foreign seeds that are being shipped to people across the Commonwealth.

Over the weekend, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) was notified of several Kentuckians who had received unsolicited seed packets that appear to have originated by China. The types of seeds are unknown and may be harmful. The packages were sent by mail.

If you receive a suspicious package of seeds that you did not order:

  • Do not plant (could contain invasive species)
  • Contact the Kentucky Department of Agriculture immediately (502) 573-0282 or Ag.Web@ky.gov
  • Put the package and seeds in a zip lock bag and wash your hands immediately

"At this point in time, we don't have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam, or an act of agricultural bio-terrorism," Commissioner Quarles said. "Unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment. If you have received such a package, do not plant the seeds and immediately contact the Kentucky Department of Agriculture."

Commissioner Quarles said Kentucky is the fourth state known to receive suspicious packages of seeds.