Suspicious Seed Packets Turning Up In North American Mailboxes

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July 31, 2020

Suspicious seeds are turning up in mailboxes across North America, and officials in Canada and U.S. are begging people not to plant them.

Like most people, I get plenty of random things in the mail. Holiday greeting cards from politicians, requests for donations from local religious groups, and offers to evaluate my home from realtors. But unsolicited packets of seeds? Never. 

suspicious seed packets

But the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is investigating reports of people receiving the mystery seed packets in the mail. They’re arriving from China and Taiwan. 

In a statement, the CFIA says planting seeds from unknown sources is dangerous. These seeds could be from invasive plants or carry various pests or diseases that can be harmful to native species in Canada. 

Whatever you do, don’t plant them! If you receive unsolicited seeds in the mail, contact your regional CFIA office right away. 

South of the border, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency (APHIS) is also investigating similar cases. 

It says it’s working closely with border protection officials and other federal agencies to figure out what they are and who is sending them.

The APHIS says it believes the packages are part of a ‘brushing scam’ where people receive things they never ordered from a seller who posts false customer reviews to boost sales.

Still, the seed pouches received by Americans are being tested to see if they pose any risk to the environment. If you live in the U.S. and receive something like this in the mail, contact the APHIS State plant health director. 

Catherine Sherriffs
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Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her two young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.
Catherine Sherriffs
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