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Mysterious seeds from China sent to at least 20 Idaho residents, officials say


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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Idahoans are receiving mysterious seeds from China, the state’s Department of Agriculture said.

At least 20 people have reported receiving unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to be from China, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture said in a Monday news release.

“Several states are reporting similar occurrences,” officials said. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is aware of the issue.”

Dozens of residents in multiple states, including Utah and Washington, have received the unknown seeds in small packages.

The seeds often come in sealed packages, and people should not open the packages, officials said. It should be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for agricultural smuggling.

Anyone who receives the seeds should keep the label and packaging as well, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture said.

At least 40 people in Utah received the mysterious seeds, McClatchy News reported. Countless others in Washington, Virginia, North Carolina and other states have also reported getting unsolicited packages of seeds.

“Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops,” the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a statement Friday. “Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.”