Ohio Chinese seed warning
While stories of unwanted packets of Chinese seeds turning up in mailboxes all over America sounds like an urban legend, it’s not.
People in Ohio and all over the U.S. have reported receiving strange packets of seeds they didn’t ask for in the mail. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the seeds appear to be shipped from China. The USDA asked people to hold the seeds in their original package and wait for further instructions.
Here are your instructions, straight from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. They want Ohioans to report any unsolicited seed packets to the ODA.
They are working in partnership with the USDA Animal and PPlant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine Office to find out two things:
- What type of seeds they are
- Who sent them
Don’t Throw Seeds Out
The main concern is that these plants could be some type of non-native invasive plant and this could be some type of eco-terrorism.
The ODA said anyone who received these seed packs should not open, plant, or throw them away. If you throw them away, they could end up sprouting in the garbage somewhere. Same with flushing them down the toilet.
According to the ODA, “Unsolicited seeds could be invasive species, contain noxious weeds, could introduce diseases to local plants or could be harmful to livestock. Invasive species and noxious weeds can displace native plants and increase the costs of food production. All foreign seeds shipped to the United States should have a phytosanitary certificate that guarantees the seeds meet important requirements.”
Send Them Here
Instead, report receiving seeds here and then submit the packages to USDA using one of the following methods:
- If possible, place the materials including the seeds, original packaging material, and your contact information in a resealable plastic bag and mail them to USDA-APHIS at the following address:
Attn: USDA -SITC
8995 East Main Street, Building 23
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
- Place the materials including the seeds, original packaging, and your contact information in a resealable plastic bag and drop them off at your county’s OSU Extension Office during business hours. You can find the nearest extension office here.
Bad Chinese Business
So far, all of the seeds analyzed by the USDA have been ordinary flowers, vegetables, and herbs. No dangerous weeds or killer carnivorous plants.
What authorities believe this to be is what’s called a “brushing scam.” That’s when retailers, almost always Chinese retailers, send unsolicited packages to people. They then post fake reviews for the item. Sending out the orders helps fool platforms like Amazon into believing you have the correct number or orders to match your reviews.
Still, the government isn’t willing to take chances.