Oklahoma, USDA investigating suspicious seeds allegedly from China

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is investigating several reports of suspicious seeds received in the mail across Oklahoma.  

“We started getting reports from Oklahomans from all different corners of the state actually were receiving these unsolicited seeds from China,” said Morgan Vance, the Chief of Communications for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

The department says it seems the seeds are coming from China and those who receive them have not ordered them.  

“They didn’t order them, the seeds weren’t labeled, there were no instructions on the inside,” said Vance.

Paula Winlock says her package of seeds came in the mail back in March.  

“It’s just odd. I just didn’t think it looked right,” said Winlock.  

Winlock says the package was labeled as being from Singapore and the contents were labeled as “Tulip Earrings.”

When she opened the package, she saw tiny seeds.  

“Wait ‘till you see these seeds,” said Winlock.  

Oklahoma is one of at least 27 states that are now issuing warnings on the seeds.  

The United States Department of Agriculture is launching a nationwide investigation, urging anyone who receives the seeds to report them.  

“It’s truly just the uncertainty at this point. We don’t know what they are we don’t know if they’re tainted, we don’t know if they could potentially pollute American soil or land or water,” said Vance.  

The USDA says if you receive seeds, you should not plant them.  

“Leave them in the package. Don’t open them. Don’t plant them,” said Vance.

The USDA says you should seal them in a Ziploc bag with the original packaging. You should not throw them away because the seeds could possibly sprout in a landfill, compromising agriculture.  

You should report any unexpected seeds you receive to the USDA Anti-Smuggling hotline at 800-877-3835. You can also send an email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is also asking the seeds be reported to Morgan.vance@ag.ok.gov or Kenny.naylor@ag.ok.gov.

You can also dispose of the seeds:

Choose from one of these three options

  1. Please mail the seeds to
    Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
    C/O Agriculture Smuggling Seeds
    2800 N. Lincoln Blvd.
    Oklahoma City, OK 73105
  2. Drop off the seeds in person at the front desk of ODAFF:
    Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
    2800 N. Lincoln Blvd.
    Oklahoma City, OK 73105
  3. Drop off the seeds and the original packaging in the Ziplock bag at your local County Extension Office
    The list of offices, complete with addresses and phone numbers, can be found at https://extension.okstate.edu/county/index.html
    Please call your extension office before dropping off to make an appointment.

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