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People In Several States Report Receiving Mystery Seeds

A package of the seeds mailed to someone in Ohio.
Courtesy of
Ohio Department of Agriculture
A package of the seeds mailed to someone in Ohio.

The Departments of Agriculture in at least four states - Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee - say people have reported receiving unsolicited packs of seeds in the mail.

Kentucky Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles says the seeds appear to come from China. "We don't have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam or an act of agricultural bioterrorism," he says. "What we do know is this: unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment."

He says if you receive the seeds, contact the Department of Agriculture, but don't open the pack.

"We cannot risk any harm whatsoever to agricultural production in the United States," he says.

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture communications director says they are working with the state chemist to determine what kind of seeds are in the packages.

A tweet from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on Monday reads: "If you receive seeds in the mail that you did not order, do not plant them. We are working with @USDA_APHIS to determine what should be done with these seeds. Double bag and hang onto them until we know more. And report to  https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/sa_sitc/ct_antismuggling."

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.