The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agricultural agencies across the nation are warning people not to plant what could be an invasive species. Massachusetts residents are warned to be cautious of random packages of seeds that appear to be from China and other countries that have been appearing in mailboxes across the country.
According to iBerkshires.com the state Department of Agricultural Resources has been notified that several Massachusetts homes have received unsolicited packages that appear to have originated in a foreign country and contain seeds.
While investigators say the exact types of seeds in the packages are unknown, they are not thought to harmful for humans or pets, however they are thought to be invasive plant species and pose a significant risk to agriculture or the environment.
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is asking residents who receive or who have received these random packages of seeds to not plant the seeds and immediately complete a form on MDAR's website to provide important information to state officials. Those who receive a package should hold on to the seeds and all packaging, including the mailing label. A representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or MDAR will be in contact with instructions regarding the collection or disposal of the seeds.
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According to MDAR, "invasive plant species can threaten the integrity of local ecosystems and displace native plants, including rare and endangered species. The most effective approach to mitigating the risk of invasive plant infestation is to take steps to ensure they are not planted."
Over the past several days, unsolicited packages of seeds have been received by residents in several other states as well as Massachusetts. On Tuesday, July 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a press release announcing that it is working with state plant regulatory officials to investigate the situation.