Following reports of U.S. residents getting unsolicited packages of unidentified seed from China over the last few days, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says it’s also investigating reports of individuals receiving mystery seeds in the mail.
The CFIA hasn’t said where the packages are coming from, but warns Canadians to not plant seeds from unknown origins.
“Unauthorized seeds could be the seeds of invasive plants, or carry plant pests, which can be harmful when introduced into Canada. These species can invade agricultural and natural areas, causing serious damage to our plant resources,” says the agency, in a statement issued late Tuesday.
If you receive a seed package that you did not order, the CFIA says you should contact your regional CFIA office immediately. The seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, should be kept until a CFIA inspector provides further instructions.
U.S. government officials and departments of agriculture at the state and national levels have issued similar statements, saying they’re investigating unsolicited seed packages. In some cases, the packages have been labeled as containing jewellery (as pictured above.)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s working together with state agriculture departments, along with the Department of Homeland Security, to investigate the situation.
“At this time, we don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a ‘brushing scam’ where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales,” says the U.S. ag department in a statement issued Tuesday. “USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.”