Aug 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

USDA identifies several seeds from mysterious China packets

The U.S. Department of Agriculture identified more than a dozen of the unsolicited seeds sent to Americans mostly from China that have sparked warnings in all 50 states, per USA Today.

Catch up quick: Small packets of seeds have been shipped to seemingly random American households nationwide. While most species identified seem to be innocuous herbs, officials have advised recipients not to plant the seeds for fear they could be invasive or harmful to humans.

  • But the USDA wrote in a statement on Friday: "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."
  • USDA is collecting the seed packages from recipients and will test their contents to determine whether they contain anything that could damage U.S. agriculture or the environment.
  • Species included in the packets include: morning glory, hibiscus, roses, cabbage and herbs including mint, sage, rosemary and lavender.
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