Georgia Residents Asked To Mail Unsolicited Seeds From China To State Ag Department
Woodstock resident Kirk Buchholz says two packages of seeds were mailed to his house without being ordered.
When a package of seeds arrived at Kirk Buchholz’s Woodstock home three weeks ago, he assumed it was lost zucchini seeds he ordered from Amazon before the pandemic started.
He canceled the order around May, when Amazon assumed the order was lost.
The package contained what he thought looked a bit like cucumber seeds, and he set them aside.
But within the last 10 days, another pack of much smaller seeds arrived.
“We couldn't track it back to an Amazon order, and then we got another one,” Buchholz said. “So, they have just kind of been sitting on our table.”
The Georgia Department of Agriculture has asked residents to report receiving unsolicited seeds from China.
After that announcement, Buchholz and his wife, Alexis, felt alarmed.
Friends mentioned rumors of agroterrorism, a deliberate act to cause harm to livestock or the nation's supply chain by introducing a disease agent.
"When I spoke to woman at GDOA, she asked where we lived," Alexis Buchholz said. "I said, 'Woodstock' and she mentioned she had just gotten off the phone with a woman in Canton who also got the seeds."
When Kirk Buchholz examined the second unsolicited package, he said the contents looked like flower seeds.
He didn't open either bag.
The return label lists a city in China, with a long phone number and information about the weight.
The envelope lists the contents as a ring.
"It says on the bottom, 'I certify that the particulars given in this declaration are correct and this item does not contain any dangerous articles prohibited by legislation or by postal or customers regulation.'"
The couple said they took photos and plan to mail both packages to the agriculture department's seed office in Tifton.
The state agriculture department on Monday urged residents not to open the packages or plant the seeds. Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops, the agency said.
"At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant," Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said. "If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag."