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Utah agriculture and food: cook any seeds you receive from China

Warnings about unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to be coming from China have now extended to all 50 states. Credit: Washington State Dept. of Agriculture

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah agriculture and food officials have a unique suggestion to neutralize the potential threat from seeds mailed from China: cook them. 

Thousand of people across the country are receiving seeds they never ordered. And the packaging looks like they’re coming from China.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) says if you get a packet of seeds, cook them.

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The goal is to not let any of these plants take root.  Officials are concerned they could be invasive and push out Utah’s native flora.

The UDAF would like to examine the seeds, so if you get the unwanted packages, they’re asking you to drop them off at their offices.  But, if you can’t do that, the next thing to do is make them inert — and the way to do that is to cook the seeds. 

To cook the seeds and render them inert, the UDAF recommends baking them for thirty minutes at 325 degrees. Once the seeds have cooled, double bag the seeds in plastic bags, then throw them away.

If you already planted the unknown seeds, you should double bag the dirt and seedlings and put that in the trash, the UDAF says.  The container should be washed in a ten percent bleach solution and not used again for twelve months.