Unidentified seeds, seemingly from China, have arrived unsolicited across the country. Agricultural officials are asking residents not to plant these seeds. Stating that they may be from invasive, destructive, or otherwise dangerous plants. Officials in at least 27 states have reported unsolicited packages of seeds delivered to residents. Similar packages have begun arriving throughout the U.K.
Jane Rupp, a Better Business Bureau representative, believes that these shipments could be part of a brushing scam, where online sellers ship large quantities of cheap merchandise to increase their overall ratings and visibility by creating fake reviews in the recipients name, reports Fox. Similar cases were reported in late 2019 with Americans receiving unordered, low cost, and even empty packages.
A Facebook post by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) shows that these packages are labeled as being shipped via China Post, a Chinese state owned Enterprise. Similar packages have begun arriving in the United Kingdom, with reportedly hundreds of the packets arriving across the country.
With at least 27 states reporting similar packages, agricultural officials have provided somewhat varied advice to residents who receive seed packets. Several things remain constant, however, with officials asking recipients to not open the seed packets or plant the seeds, keep the original packaging, and report the package to their local authorities.
Advice varies with what to do should the seeds have already been planted.
A spokesperson for the USDA stated that “USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation,” and that the organization “is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.”
Ohio residents should report any unsolicited seed packets to the ODA here.
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Ben Kolodny is a reporter for The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. You can follow Ben on Twitter. Tips can be sent to [email protected]
Photo “Mysterious Seeds” by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.