CFIA provides update on mystery seeds sent to Canadian mailboxes

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has released an update on reported mystery seed packages.

Over 750 individuals from across all 10 provinces have received mystery packages of seeds. Information that the CFIA has collected, to date, includes:

  • packages postmarked from several countries and are declared as toys or jewelry;
  • seeds are from a range of plant species including tomato, strawberry, rose, citrus, as well as weed seeds common in Canada (for example, shepherd’s purse and flixweed);
  • based on visual inspection, the seeds appear to be low risk, but Canadians are still cautioned not to plant them.

Some recipients have reported ordering seeds in the past online, but one explanation for the mystery seed packages is that e-commerce businesses are trying to boost their online sales by sending unsolicited products to customers, and posting fake positive reviews. This questionable practice is known as “brushing.”

The CFIA asks Canadians who receive seeds that they didn’t order to put them, their packaging, and mailing label in a sealed bag inside a second sealed bag, report them to a regional CFIA office, and then await further instruction.

If you received a package of seeds, do not plant them. Seeds should be turned in to CFIA, or thoroughly destroyed. If you have planted them, put them in compost piles, or thrown them out, retrieve any plant parts or seeds you can or retain any packaging and send that to CFIA.

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