State starts web site for updates on unwanted seeds

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has created a webpage to provide information about steps Kentuckians should take if they have received unsolicited seeds in the mail from foreign countries.

“The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails since Monday about unsolicited packages of seeds from foreign countries,” Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in making the announcement Friday. “While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not received any indication that this could be anything more than a marketing scam, they continue to investigate this matter and provide guidance on what steps Kentuckians should take should they receive unsolicited seeds. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is dedicated to sharing the best information with the public when we have it, and we encourage Kentuckians to visit kyagr.com/foreignseeds to stay current with the latest on this unusual situation.”

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

People who have received unsolicited foreign seeds should bag them in an airtight bag and send it to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) at:

USDA-APHIS PPQ

P.O. Box 475

Hebron, Kentucky 41048.

“The message is the same: Do not plant unsolicited seeds,” Quarles said. “If you have planted these seeds already, we are awaiting guidance from USDA about how to proceed. Once we have an update, we will be sure to let the public know.”