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Mystery seeds from China are landing in Americans' mail boxes

July 28, 2020 05:15AM
Speaking of seeds and gardening....

Mystery seeds from China are landing in Americans' mail boxes
July 28, 2020 / 6:57 AM / CBS/AP

Frankfort, Kentucky — Agriculture officials in multiple states issued warnings Monday about unsolicited shipments of foreign seeds and advised people not to plant them. In Kentucky, the state agriculture department was notified that several residents received unsolicited seed packets sent by mail that appeared to have originated in China, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said.

The types of seeds are unknown and could be harmful, Quarles said, stressing that they should not be planted.

"We don't know what they are, and we cannot risk any harm whatsoever to agricultural production in the United States," he said. "We have the safest, most abundant food supply in the world and we need to keep it that way."

Anyone in Kentucky receiving packages of foreign or unfamiliar seeds should contact the state agriculture department immediately, Quarles said.

"At this point in time, we don't have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam or an act of agricultural bio-terrorism," he said. "Unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment."

Residents of at least eight states have now received suspicious packages of seeds that appear to have originated from China, with officials in each urging people not to plant them, according to the Reuters news agency.

Reuters said the USDA had confirmed in a statement that it was working with the Department of Homeland Security and state officials to stop any illegal seeds entering the country and to protect American agriculture.

The agency was "aware that people across the country have received unsolicited packages of seed from China in recent days," Reuters reported, quoting the statement.

In North Carolina, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it was contacted by numerous people who received seed shipments they did not order. The agency said the shipments were likely the product of an international internet scam known as "brushing."

"According to the Better Business Bureau, foreign, third-party sellers use your address and Amazon information to generate a fake sale and positive review to boost their product ratings," said Phil Wilson, director of the state's Plant Industry Division.

New York Commissioner of Agriculture Richard Ball said in a statement Monday that his office had also fielded "a few" queries from residents who got unsolicited "packages allegedly sent from China that are marked as containing jewelry but which actually contain plant seeds."

Ball confirmed that the USDA was investigating, and told residents not to handle or plant the seeds.

He said anyone who gets a packet of seeds "should store them safely in a place children and pets cannot access," and then email the USDA immediately at erich.l.glasgow@usda.gov with their full names and phone numbers, pictures of the packaging, "and any other relevant information."

Maryland agriculture officials confirmed in a tweet they were working with the USDA to investigate seeds sent to residents there.

Last week Virginia's agriculture department issued a similar warning, again after "several" residents received the unsolicited seeds.

"The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them," said the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, adding: "Please do not plant these seeds."



Just jack with our food and water supplies and we're doomed. This is some scary stuff. Nobody knows what the seeds are, who's sending them, or why. Another thing that bugs me is that the packages all have labels showing they're from China and the label contents shows toys or something else but none of them state "seeds". Why not? Hmmmm..... I've seen pics of some of the seeds and they're not even all the same kind that are being sent everywhere. You can't even throw them away because the seeds could end up sprouting in landfills and still possibly be invasive... or ... the seeds could blow around to parts unknown and take root and grow into god knows what. They did a news story here in St Louis last night where a local woman had gotten a package from China that she did not order. It was labeled "toys" but inside was a bag of small black seeds. One of my concerns is that somebody is going to get one of these packages and despite the warnings, they're going to plant them anyway just to see what comes up. That one small stupid act of curiosity could end up disastrous for us all.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 07/28/2020 05:40AM by MamaRAMa.

  who gardens ... post pics

zn378May 11, 2020 03:45PM

  not much to show

21Dog89May 12, 2020 07:50PM

  Re: not much to show

zn93May 12, 2020 07:54PM

  I'm limited for space (and lazy)

21Dog93May 12, 2020 07:59PM

  Yeah, but. . . .

RAMbeau92May 13, 2020 12:40PM

  Re: Yeah, but. . . .

21Dog98May 14, 2020 05:21AM

  Very big garden.. . .

RAMbeau89May 14, 2020 07:51AM

  Re: Yeah, but. . . .

zn97May 14, 2020 10:29AM

  Re: who gardens ... post pics

LMU9394May 13, 2020 04:06AM

  Only 2 things I'm allergic to...

max103May 13, 2020 05:05AM

  huge gardener here

ferragamo79103May 15, 2020 07:32AM

  Thumb of death. . . .

RAMbeau92May 15, 2020 08:36AM

  Re: Thumb of death. . . .

zn95May 15, 2020 10:13AM

  Same here, RAMbeau...

sstrams87May 15, 2020 11:07AM

  That was a funny reply of mine..

sstrams71July 17, 2020 06:03PM

  I remember laughing out loud at it.

Atlantic Ram73July 17, 2020 09:00PM

  Same here, Atlantic..

sstrams59July 18, 2020 04:08AM

  Re: who gardens ... post pics

AlbaNY_Ram98May 15, 2020 04:36PM

  Yikes. . . .

RAMbeau89May 15, 2020 05:23PM

  Well, my latest attempt at gardening..

sstrams85May 16, 2020 04:32AM

  I just checked radar...

sstrams79May 16, 2020 04:36AM

  Re: I just checked radar...

zn76May 16, 2020 05:50AM

  Thanks man...

sstrams68May 16, 2020 05:59AM

  Re: Thanks man...

zn78May 16, 2020 06:24AM

  I did!

sstrams74May 16, 2020 08:04AM

  Asian Jasmine is the ground cover..

sstrams64July 17, 2020 06:12PM

  Re: Asian Jasmine is the ground cover..

zn66July 17, 2020 06:38PM

  Thanks for that.. but I dunno..

sstrams66July 18, 2020 04:17AM

  Re: Thanks for that.. but I dunno..

zn69July 18, 2020 06:23AM

  Is that your freaking yard, zn?

sstrams65July 18, 2020 07:05AM

  Re: Is that your freaking yard, zn?

zn61July 18, 2020 07:20AM

  coming along

zn80June 08, 2020 05:41PM


sstrams69June 09, 2020 05:01AM

  Re: who gardens ... post pics

zn73July 17, 2020 03:13PM

  Dang, that's awesome, man..

sstrams64July 17, 2020 06:00PM

  Re: Dang, that's awesome, man..

zn72July 17, 2020 06:41PM

  Is that yours, zn?

sstrams63July 18, 2020 04:18AM

  Re: Is that yours, zn?

zn64July 18, 2020 06:19AM

  I'm not sure where you are..

sstrams57July 18, 2020 07:09AM

  Re: I'm not sure where you are..

zn97July 18, 2020 07:30AM

  Dang, that's gorgeous...

sstrams56July 18, 2020 07:35AM

  Re: Dang, that's gorgeous...

zn68July 18, 2020 08:07AM

  Nice.. you might be able to pull it off..

sstrams59July 18, 2020 08:12AM

  Re: Nice.. you might be able to pull it off..

zn68July 18, 2020 08:23AM

  That's still killer, man.. My only time in Maine..

sstrams60July 18, 2020 08:29AM

  Re: That's still killer, man.. My only time in Maine..

zn67July 18, 2020 08:50AM

  I lived in San Antonio for about 8 months..

sstrams65July 18, 2020 09:01AM

  as someone who grows stuff for a living......

21Dog81July 18, 2020 04:42AM

  hmmm I must be over watering my tomato plants

ferragamo7978July 18, 2020 06:36AM

  Not an uncommon occurrence. . . .. . .

RAMbeau71July 18, 2020 12:15PM

  This is true..

sstrams71July 18, 2020 12:50PM

  hey Frank

ferragamo7968July 18, 2020 06:33PM

  High on my bucket list. . .

RAMbeau67July 19, 2020 07:18AM

  Re: hmmm I must be over watering my tomato plants

waterfield58July 26, 2020 04:29PM

  For those with soil problems (clay)

ScRAM70July 18, 2020 07:42PM

  Barbara's garden Attachments

waterfield72July 19, 2020 08:50AM

  nice (nm)

zn48July 26, 2020 09:30AM

  late July update

zn59July 26, 2020 09:34AM

  Man, looks great...

sstrams46July 26, 2020 09:43AM

  Re: Man, looks great...

zn64July 26, 2020 10:22AM

  Oh man, I love that..

sstrams53July 26, 2020 11:44AM

  Re: Oh man, I love that..

zn48July 26, 2020 11:57AM

  I was just looking it over and I have a plan...

sstrams53July 26, 2020 12:17PM

  Re: I was just looking it over and I have a plan...

zn49July 26, 2020 12:41PM

  I put a circle of rocks..

sstrams50July 26, 2020 01:20PM

  Holy cow..

sstrams50July 28, 2020 04:28AM

  Mystery seeds from China are landing in Americans' mail boxes

MamaRAMa60July 28, 2020 05:15AM

  China is killing us from the inside..

sstrams53July 28, 2020 05:24AM

  early august

zn56August 06, 2020 02:58PM

  Wow - looking awesome..

sstrams44August 07, 2020 04:11AM

  Re: early august

MamaRAMa54August 07, 2020 05:13AM