Disposing of Chinese Seeds in Polk County
Published on Jul 29, 2020
Bartow, Fla. (July 29, 2020) — Polk County’s Cooperative Extension and Parks and Natural Resources divisions have been designated at drop off locations for packets of seeds residents may receive unsolicited through the mail from China.
On Monday, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a warning to Floridians that people in the U.S. have reported receiving unexpected packages with Chinese characters on the label. Officials said many of the packages have the name China Post, and may be labeled as jewelry.
According to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, 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.
Anyone receiving unsolicited seed packages from other countries should follow these directions:
- Do not open the seed packet and avoid opening outer packaging or mailing materials, if possible;
- Do not plant the seeds or discard them in trash that will be landfilled;
- Limit contact with the seed package until further guidance on handling, disposal, or collection is available from the USDA; and
- Report the seed package to the FDACS Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517 or DPIhelpline@FDACS.gov or to the USDA APHIS Anti-Smuggling Hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov
Residents are encouraged to deliver packets of seeds they receive to drop off locations in Polk County, Monday – Friday, which include:
Bartow: UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service, 1702 Highway 17-98 S.
Eloise: Johnny and Freda Brooks Eloise Resource Center, 710 Snively Ave.
Lake Wales: Mary Norma Campbell Resource Center, 2226 Karen St.
Lakeland: Medulla Resource Center, 1049 Parker Road, Lakeland
Lakeland: Wabash Community Center, 1230 Southern Ave., Lakeland
Winter Haven: Wilfred Smith Resource Center, 135 Ave. Y N.E.