Unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail? Don't open!

sushipup1

Hot topic on the local pages here is that people are getting unsolicited packets of seeds from overseas. This is happening in other states, as well, and there are serious potential problems. Here's a warning from the PA Dept of Agriculture:


Agriculture Department Warns Consumers to Report Unsolicited, Mislabeled Seeds Received by Mail

Harrisburg, PA - Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today warned consumers to properly discard and report unordered and mislabeled seeds shipped from overseas. Consumers nationwide have received seeds in packages labeled as jewelry. These seeds may contain plant diseases, weeds or invasive plants that could harm Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and ecosystem.

“Seeds sold in Pennsylvania are rigorously tested to ensure that they are genetically pure and regulated to ensure that what’s on the label is what’s in the package,” Secretary Redding said. “Planting seeds without knowing what they are can wreak havoc with our environment, destroy agricultural crops and incur costly control efforts for years to come.”

Seeds labelled as jewelry are likely a scam known as "brushing.” Companies boost online sales by purchasing their own products through fake buyer accounts created by the company. The products are shipped to a real address, to someone who didn’t order the item. The seller writes a positive review of their items from the fake buyer account.

In the past, scammers have sent empty packages. Recent packages have been filled with unlabeled seeds.

Consumers who receive unsolicited seeds are asked to retain the seeds and packaging. If opened, double bag and seal the seeds. Do not plant them or discard loose seeds.

Report the package to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) confidential Antismuggling Hotline, 800-877-3835 or email SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov. USDA will provide further instructions.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s seed program licenses seed distributors, and analyzes and certifies seeds to help ensure that seeds are free of pathogens, invasive plants and noxious weeds.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s efforts to protect and promote agriculture in Pennsylvania, visit agriculture.pa.gov.

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Comments (15)
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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

A couple of people in my neighborhood has gotten them. They look like citrus seeds of some sort.

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Lucille

If these are for some reason dangerous seeds, we're finished. Already states are warning people not to plant them. We have flocks of idiots that vocally maintain that they have a right not to wear masks and the government can't tell them what to do, how effective is a government warning going to be in stopping them from planting?

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chloebud

Heard this on the news just a few minutes ago.

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

Lucille, worst case scenario is that the seeds are some sort of bio-warfare that are carrying a virus or mutation meant to damage our citrus industry (although sending them to Ohio doesn't make much sense). I've also seen the suggestion that a company is doing this solely to inflate/falsify their sales numbers, by being able to say they've shipped X amount of product.

I hope that someone is able to discover the truth of it.

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OutsidePlaying

As far as ‘destroying’ them, mostly I have heard the postal service asking the packages be returned so they can attempt to be traced. one of the only ways to destroy the seed is to heat them at very high heat. I would not put them in the trash.

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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

And definitely do NOT flush them! It was on the news here also.

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NOWAY2Biden

We got some a few weeks ago. Unfortunately we didn't know about this at the time and figured it was a shipping error. We threw them away.

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Lars

This was on CBS This Morning today. One person said that if you throw the seeds away, they could end up sprouting in the landfill, which is why you should contact the Dept of Agriculture instead.

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Lukki Irish

this is the first I’ve heard of this. Wow.

ETA: Thanks for posting about this. I watch a lot of news so I’m surprised and disappointed that I’ve not heard about it. I think we should keep this thread posted on the first page so it can be seen by as many people as possible. Hoping others will help me keep it bumped.

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

"One person said that if you throw the seeds away, they could end up sprouting in the landfill"

LOL!! Ever visit a landfill? Nothing - and I mean nothing - grows there!! Too much traffic with heavy equipment, too much disturbance, no growing medium available and little to no light. Those are near impossible conditions for any sort of seed germination!

I'd be more concerned about tossing them into the yard waste recycling bin that winds up at a municipal composting operation. But most of those are processed enough and hot enough that seeds do not survive.

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

In case you missed it on the smile today thread. Cute little fellers!


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Lucille

Lucille, worst case scenario is that the seeds are some sort of bio-warfare that are carrying a virus or mutation meant to damage our citrus industry

Raee, I can think of a lot worse case scenarios than sick citrus trees. In my opinion, the bio warfare labs aren't going to spend millions weaponizing a seed so that we can't have lemon meringue any more.

Here is the 'feed me' song from the Little Shop of Horrors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjook1I0V4

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sheilajoyce_gw

I saw the warnings about these seeds from China on the CBS network news last night. They showed several packets of seeds, and there definitely was a variety of seeds. They did say not to throw them in the garbage.

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dallasannie

I saw photos of these seeds and it look like different people are receiving different kinds of seeds. It may be just some internet scam, is what I heard.

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FlamingO in AR

I just read that it’s a ploy where a seller can use the so-called buyers‘ names to leave themselves positive feedback.

Analysis of the seeds ranges from herbs to flowers.

I would grind up the seeds before disposing of them.

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