Unsolicited Mystery Seeds Arriving in Texas
I read about people getting these in the mail in Virginia but apparently they're being reported in North Texas now as well. People are getting unsolicited packages containing seeds in the mail. I've read that the packages sender originates from China and can sometimes be labeled as containing jewelry and such. According to Sid Miller from the Agricultural Commission, over 200 north Texas residents have received the unsolicited packages as told to Fox 4 of Dallas. Texas is among 30 other states reportedly receiving the packages. Some believe that the packages are simply apart of a "brushing scam", which is where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales, according to an article on Northescambia.com.
The websites gives the following information.
Anyone receiving unsolicited seed packages from other countries should follow these directions:
- Do not open the seed packet and avoid opening outer packaging or mailing materials, if possible
- Do not plant the seeds or discard them in trash that will be landfilled
- Limit contact with the seed package until further guidance on handling, disposal, or collection is available from the USDA
- Report the seed package to the FDACS Division of Plant Industry at 1-888-397-1517 or DPIhelpline@FDACS.gov
- Report the seed package to the USDA APHIS Anti-Smuggling Hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov
When reporting the seed package to FDACS and USDA/APHIS, please be prepared to provide one’s name, physical address, phone number, and email address for contact purposes.
The introduction of plant seeds into the United States is tightly regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Seeds of unknown origin may constitute agricultural smuggling, may be invasive, may introduce pathogens, toxins, or plant and animal diseases, may pose a risk of foodborne illness, and may pose a threat to plant, animal, and human health. FDACS is working closely to receive guidance from the USDA and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the lead regulatory body on this issue, in consultation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.