Numerous state agriculture departments, including the those in Washington and Idaho, along with the USDA are urging consumers not to plant seeds sent to them from China. Americans across the country report receiving unsolicited seeds from China in packages labeled as jewelry. These unknown seeds are a concern for American farmers, as they could be invasive species, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.
USDA considers the practice agricultural smuggling, and all states reporting the practice are asking consumers to notify their state agriculture departments. Consumers are asked not to open any sealed package containing seeds, and not throw unsealed seeds in the trash, as they could grow in landfills.
“NASDA is working closely with USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Department of Homeland Security to understand the origin of these unsolicited seeds from China that have entered our country illegally,” said National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Dr. Barb Glenn. “Right now we are encouraging the public to keep the seeds and complete packaging, including mailing information, and contact your state department of agriculture or APHIS state director. Please do not plant or consume the seeds.”
The packages may be part of what is called a brushing scheme, where criminals buy their own cheap products, send them to a real address, then write a positive review about their product online.
Similar packages containing seeds are showing up in mailboxes in Britain, as well.
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