Louisiana agriculture officials talk about safety measures with mystery China seeds

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MONROE, LA (KTVE/KARD)– Mysterious seeds from China have made their way to the UK, all 50 US states, and even northeast Louisiana. The United States Department of Agriculture has been investigating the seed and believe it is all part of a big scam. NBC 10/ FOX 14 talked with Louisiana agriculture officials and has the dirt on these seeds.

“Do not open the seed packets,” said Dr. Mike Strain, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry.

Many in the United States have opened their mailboxes to find a mystery package from china…filled with seed. Almost 4,000 seed packets have been acquired from all 50 states. For Louisiana, calls started coming in, July 23rd.

“Up to today we have had over 900 calls and we have picked up over 300 packets of seed. We are sending those to the USDA,” said Commissioner Strain.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry says 750 seeds have been identified, everything from rosemary seeds to mint seeds. While there is still a lot of unknown with the seed, they have found some disease threats that could be present.

“We really don’t know what they are. Even if it’s easy enough to look at these seeds and say “Well that looks like a squish seed or mustard seed or something like that” the truth is we really don’t know what they are until you plant the seed,” said Kerry Heafner, LSU Ag Center in West Monroe.

Officials from the LSU Ag Center in West Monroe say it’s important to understand that planting one foreign seed could ruin an entire crop for local farmers.

“What we are concerned about is that some type of invasive species or a plant that we have kept out of the united states for a number of reasons,” said Commissioner Strain.

North Louisiana is one of the biggest agriculture industries and with thousands of acres of farmland, turning these seeds in is what officials are asking people to do.

“Anyone in this viewing area that receives unlisted seeds should absolutely respect the fact that agriculture is, while it is a large part of the state’s economy, it’s also fragile in many ways. These foreign seeds could be a problem,” said Heafner.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry says do not open the seed bag, instead, put it inside a sealable bag. To dispose of the seed you can call 225- 925-4733 and an agent with The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry will pick it up. You can also send them directly to The United States Department of Agriculture at 1400 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, DC 20250. To see more information about the seed from China, Click here.

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