GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you got an unasked-for package of seeds in the mail, don’t open it, the state says.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Wednesday put out a warning about the unsolicited seeds from China.
“If you receive unsolicited seeds from another country, do not open the packaging or plant the seeds,” Mike Philip, director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, said in a statement.
You also shouldn’t throw the seeds away. Keep them, the packaging and the mailing label and report the package to MDARD by calling 800.292.3939 during regular business hours or by emailing MDA-Info@michigan.gov.
MDARD issued a similar warning in July 2020. It says the seeds are likely part of “brushing” scam in which vendors ship cheap products and then post fake reviews online using the recipients’ names.
The agency said most recipients never ordered any seeds, though some ordered seeds on Amazon and then later received the ones from China. The seeds show up in all types of packaging and are often labeled as jewelry.
“(U.S. Department of Agriculture) testing of these packages has identified hundreds of varieties of seeds, ranging from noxious weeds, to cannabis, to a wide array of vegetable and flower seeds,” Philip said. “These unknown seeds could be invasive, introduce disease to local plants, or be harmful to livestock. If planted, these unknown and potentially invasive species could have a very negative impact on the environment.”
MDARD said the USDA is investigating similar cases around the country.