Several states are issuing warnings after residents across the nation have reported receiving unsolicited packages that appear to have originated in China. The packages typically have Chinese characters on the label and contain a sealed packet of unknown seeds that some state agriculture departments say could be invasive plant species.
“Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops,” the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a news release on July 24.
“Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.”
It’s unclear who exactly is sending these packages, why they’re being distributed and whether the seeds are actually harmful. The department asked that anyone who has received this type of package in the mail contact the Office of Plant Industry Services.
“That is rather random. I don’t think I’ve heard of seeds before,” Rupp told KSTU. “The first thing to do is Google your address and see what’s out there … Numerous things will come up when you Google your address. It’s kind of scary sometimes.”
Seeds that are imported into the US must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate that ensures the product is free of pests and diseases.