Ag commish advises New Yorkers on seed packages from China

Enterprise file photo

Suspect seeds: New York’s agriculture commissioner, Richard Ball, shown here with boxes of lettuce he helped pick last year at the Patroon Land Farm in Knox, this week issued a warning about packages of seeds from China.

Some New Yorkers have received unsolicited packages allegedly sent from China that are marked as containing jewelry but which actually contain plant seeds, according to a statement released Monday from Richard Ball, the state’s agriculture commissioner.

Similar packages have been received in other states, and the United States Department of Agriculture is investigating.

“People who receive seeds should not plant or handle the seeds,” Ball said.

Rather, they should mail the sealed package of seeds, the original packaging, with contact information and any additional relevant details, directly to the USDA at: Office of the State Plant Health Director of New York c/o Christopher Zaloga, United States Department of Agriculture 500 New Karner Rd. Albany, NY 12205.
Seeds imported into the United States are rigorously tested to ensure quality and prevent introduction of invasive species, insects, and diseases, Ball said, concluding, “We will continue to monitor this issue and will pass along guidance as it is received from USDA.”

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