USDA urges people to mail unsolicited seed packages for testing

USDA urges people to mail unsolicited seed packages for testing
Seeds

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is urging anyone who has received any unsolicited seed packages to mail them to specific locations so they can be tested faster.

In recent weeks, mysterious packages of seeds have been sent to residents across the country, including in East Texas. The packages are marked as being from China and labeled as containing jewelry.

Authorities are warning people not to open the packages or plant the seeds. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection are investigating.

The USDA has released test results for some of the seeds they have received. Last week, East Texas News spoke with Dr. Kevin Ong, Texas A&M professor and director of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, about the seeds.

“It has identified a bunch of different things like hibiscus, a bunch of different type of herbs and mints,” Ong said. “I know that kale, cabbage was also recorded as mustard seed.”

If you receive any of the packages, federal and state officials say do not open them and limit contact with the packaging.

USDA Instructions for Mailing Seed Packets:

  • Place the unopened seed packet and any packaging, including the mailing label, in a mailing envelope. If the seed packets are open, first place the seeds and their packaging into a zip-lock bag, seal it, and then place everything into a mailing envelope.
  • Please include your name, address, and phone number so that a State or Federal agriculture official can contact you for additional information, if needed.

If you are unable to mail the package to one of the locations below, please contact your APHIS State plant health director to arrange a no-contact pick up or to determine a convenient drop-off location. The USDA recommends choosing the mailing address closest to you.

USDA-APHIS-PPQ 

Attn: Elias Gonzalez 

100 Los Indios Blvd. 

Los Indios, Texas 78567

USDA-APHIS-PPQ 

Attn: Gerardo Gonzalez 

120 San Francisco, Bridge II Complex 

Building 5, Room 505 

Laredo, Texas 78045

USDA-APHIS-PPQ 

Houston PIS 

Attn: Alejandro Gammon Officer in Charge 

19581 Lee Road 

Humble, TX, 77338

USDA-APHIS-PPQ 

Dallas Ft Worth Work Unit 75261 

Attn: Janet Ussery, Officer in Charge 

P.O. Box 610063.

Dallas, Texas 75261

USDA APHIS PPQ

Attn: Harald Grieb 

3600 E. Paisano Dr. 

Room 147-1 

El Paso, TX 79905

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