ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida is the latest state to warn people about strange seed packets being received in the mail, possibly from China.
During the past several days, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in a news release said it received at least 160 reports from residents reporting such suspicious seed packets in their mailboxes.
The packages appear to have Chinese characters on the label with "China Post" and could be labeled as jewelry, the agency said.
Agency officials said plant seeds coming into the U.S. are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and those of unknown origin could be invasive and introduce disease to the environment.
"Plant seeds from unknown sources may introduce dangerous pathogens, diseases, or invasive species into Florida, putting agriculture and our state’s plant, animal, and human health at risk," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in the release.
"Anyone receiving these suspicious seed packets should not open them, should not plant them, should limit contact with them, and should report them immediately to both our department and USDA officials," she said.
People who receive such a seed package in the mail are asked not to open them and not throw them in the trash that could end up in a landfill.