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KDA advises Kansans who receive mystery seeds from China

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 10:34 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It’s a mystery sweeping the nation and right here in Kansas. Hundreds have received seeds in the mail from China that they never purchased.

Instead of throwing them away in the trash, the Kansas Department of Agriculture explained what you should do if you receive any.

Heather Lansdowne, Director of Communications with the Kansas Department of Agriculture said, “It’s an unusual circumstance. Kansans had been receiving in the mail unsolicited packages that had seeds in them.”

Lansdowne said in the last week alone, more than 400 people have reached out to the KDA about receiving seeds in packages bearing Chinese writing.

“We don’t have any evidence that there’s anything threatening but there is a concern they could be in the form of invasive species or a seed-born plant illness or invasive pests and any of those could be damaging to plant health in the state,” said Lansdowne.

All 50 states have received these mystery seeds. So the KDA is working with surrounding states as well as the US Department of Agriculture, who is leading the investigation into these packages. But for now, Lansdowne urges people to not throw the seeds in the trash.

“Don’t plant the seeds. We ask that people retain the packaging including the mailing label,” said Lansdowne. “And then we’re telling them to double bag it. So put it in two sealable like Ziploc type bags.”

Instructions will be published on the KDA’s website about how to properly dispose of the seeds and packaging.

“They could just send us an email and that would be at KDA.ppwc@ks.gov and if they do that, they can report that they received seeds and then they’ll be on our list and then we will contact them as soon as we have more information for them. They can always go to our website and we’ve got all of the information there about what they can do,” said Lansdowne.

“If people did plant the seeds, we definitely want them to contact us as soon as possible,” said Lansdowne. “There will be a slightly different procedure of what to do if they already have something growing that grew out of the seeds.”

Sedgwick County’s environmental resources director, Susan Erlenwein, said the mystery seeds can be brought to the Household Hazardous Waste facility and they will coordinate disposal with the KDA.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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