Hunterdon freeholders warn residents of dangers posed by unsolicited seed packets mailed from China

Hunterdon freeholders warn residents of dangers posed by unsolicited seed packets mailed from China

Unsolicited seed packet shipments being received by residents in Hunterdon County should not be opened and must be reported immediately to the United States Department of Agriculture, according to a warning issued by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. “The insidious, unsolicited delivery of seed packets, sometimes disguised and labeled as jewelry, has been designated as smuggling by the USDA,” Freeholder John Lanza said in a press release shared with NJ Advance Media. “Residents are warned to not open or plant the seeds. Any shipment of seeds, exotic produce and meat products into the U.S. should be reported immediately.” If they receive an unsolicited seed packet in the mail, Hunterdon County residents should take a photo of the package and the seeds if opened. All photographs should be emailed to Joseph Zoltowski, director for the Division of Plant Industry for the NJDA, at joseph.zoltowski@ag.nj.gov and to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov, a representative account for the USDA. The seeds and packaging can be mailed to the USDA Office, which is located at 1500 Lower Road, Linden, NJ, 07036, for inspection. According to Bob Hornby, Hunterdon County agriculture development board administrator and agriculture resource specialist, these seeds could be invasive and have the potential to be both harmful to local plants and livestock. “Understanding the potential for harm to the local environment, farms, food supply chain, and livestock, I would ask that anyone who has been in contact with these seed packets follow the NJDA and USDA instructions,” Hornby said in ...
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