News of mysterious seed packages from Asia arriving in Utah mailboxes began spreading last week. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food has been investigating the seeds and reporting their findings to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The mailing labels on mysterious packages of seeds showing up in Utah trace back to Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and China. Residents across the United States have received these packages and through research, the United States Department of Agriculture had determined all of them originated in China at one point.
Although the state department of agriculture and food says this was just recenlty brought to their attention, the UDAF plant director Robert Hougaard, said it appears to have been happening for a while.
“What's interesting is we’ve just received an email today from somebody that said that they have been receiving these seeds the last five months," said Hougaard. "So it could have been ongoing for a while, it just came to our attention, and mostly because Fox 13, somebody called, called them from the Tooele Valley, and reported that to them, and then it came in the news and that's when we really heard about it. USDA had heard about it for about three months, but they weren't aware of the scale of what had been going on.”
According to Hougaard, some people have already grown and consumed the produce from the seeds, but this is not recommended.
As the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and USDA keep analyzing and learning more about these packages, protocols are being adjusted.
“We had originally asked people to put their seeds in their oven for 200 degrees for 40 minutes. USDA has revised that It's now 325 degrees for 30 minutes," said Hougaard. "Along with some additional protocol they would like it to be put in a single layer, double bagged them in a Ziploc baggie and then some way unusual residential garbage.”
For more information on destroying or dropping these packages off, visit ag.utah.gov.