Over the past few days, citizens in the US and Canada have reported receiving unsolicited and mysterious packages containing seeds, seemingly from China. Officials have warned that these mystery seeds could be invasive plant species and instructed recipients not to plant them. Also Read - 'Critically Endangered' Rare Orchid Found Bearing Seeds After 118 Years in UP's Dudhwa Reserve
The seeds typically arrive in white packages displaying Chinese lettering and the words “China Post.”
A Reuters report said, “The US Department of Agriculture is warning Americans not to plant unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to be arriving from China. States stretching from Washington to Virginia have also told residents not to put the seeds in the ground after they arrived in the mailboxes of people who did not order them. Officials said the seeds could grow invasive species that threaten crops or livestock.”
CBS News confirmed that residents in all 50 states in US have reported receiving the suspicious packages of seeds. Though some of the species identified so far are harmless, plant experts have warned that seeds from other parts of the world could damage crops.
The US Department of Agriculture is now collecting these seeds from citizens and working with concerned authorities to investigate them thoroughly. Many experts noted that these seeds ”could be a bacteria, another virus, some kind of invasive species.”
Canadian Food Inspection Agency also issued a similar warning after Canadians citizens received these seed packages.
“Do not plant seeds from unknown origins. Unauthorized seeds could be the seeds of invasive plants, or carry plant pests, which can be harmful when introduced into Canada. These species can invade agricultural and natural areas, causing serious damage to our plant resources,” the agency said.
Meanwhile the Chinese foreign ministry Tuesday said the labels in the packages appear “forged” and the information on them has “errors”.
However, conspiracy theories are running abound on social media, with some people calling it ‘bio-warfare’, intended as an attack on America’s agriculture. It has also stirred fears of some new kind of warfare being set into motion.
One user wrote, ”The #CCP is once again trying to infiltrate our nation by mailing unsolicited shipments of foreign seeds to harm American agriculture systems. If you receive these seeds, please do NOT plant them.”
Here are other reactions:
Meanwhile, USDA has also said the phenomenon appears to bear the hallmarks of an international “brushing scam.” Notably, brushing scam starts with a company sending a consumer an unsolicited order or merchandise. The company then uses the consumer’s information and address to write a fake review for the company to boost its online reputation.
However, nothing is clear as of now and investigations are in full force to uncover the mystery.