Did You Get a Packet of Seeds in the Mail From China? Don't Open It
History will never reflect on the year 2020 as uneventful. For some residents of Washington, Louisiana, Kansas, Virginia, Utah, Arizona, and Ohio, it’s getting a bit weirder than usual.
According to The New York Times, citizens in these states have been receiving unsolicited packets of seeds in the mail that appear to have been shipped from China. Agricultural officials are warning people not to plant the seeds, as they may potentially prove invasive to local plant life.
The seeds typically arrive in a white package, with Chinese lettering and the words “China Post” on the mailer. In Kansas, Washington, and possibly in other locations, the packages were labeled to indicate they contained jewelry.
The peculiar shipments are a problem because there’s no way of knowing whether the seeds contain pathogens harmful to plants or insects that could disrupt local agriculture.
Law enforcement in Ohio has also speculated that the seeds are part of a strategy by unscrupulous online vendors to generate positive reviews for their business or product by shipping inexpensive items, then submitting a rating of the “transaction.” With a positive sales history, these sellers might go on to perpetuate scams.
Whatever the motive, it’s best to dispose of the seeds or contact the relevant state agricultural department or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
[h/t The New York Times]