Numerous state agriculture departments, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are urging consumers not to plant seeds sent to them from China. Americans across the country report receiving unsolicited seeds from China in packages labeled as jewelry. These unknown seeds are a concern for American farmers, as they could be invasive species, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock. USDA considers the practice agricultural smuggling, and all states reporting the practice are asking consumers to notify their state agriculture departments.
Consumers are asked not to open any sealed package containing seeds, and not throw unsealed seeds in the trash, as they could grow in landfills. The packages may be part of what is called a brushing scheme, where criminals buy their own cheap products, send them to a real address, then write a positive review about their product online. Similar packages containing seeds are showing up in mailboxes in Britain, as well.