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DATCP receives 500 complaints about unsolicited seed packages

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has received reports of individuals receiving unsolicited seeds through the mail from China.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said they have received 500 complaints about unsolicited seed packages that seem to be arriving in mailboxes across the country.

DATCP Secretary-designee Randy Romanski said anyone who has received a package of the seeds, appearing to come from China, should not plant the seeds because they may be an invasive species. He also said not to throw them away, because they could germinate in a landfill.

If you receive a package of seeds, the best thing to do is to leave any sealed seed packets unopened and keep all packaging if possible, then report it to DATCP on their website.

Romanski also said some people have received similar unsolicited packages that do not contain seeds. If you received one of these packages, you should call the DATCP consumer hotline at 1-800-422-7128 or send an email to DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov to file a complaint.

Romanski said he doesn't have much information on the seeds or other packages yet, and DATCP is working with the US Department of Agriculture in their investigations to determine the origin, intent and contents of the package. More than 30 states are reporting the unsolicited packages containing seeds and other items, such as jewelry.

"It's important that people report the packages to us so we can collect the information and share as much information as possible with our federal partners," he said. "Right now we don't have evidence of anything malicious here, but we still don't know a lot and we need to investigate further."