Authorities identify some of mystery seeds from China as herb, plants

WARNING: If you received these seeds in the mail, don?t plant them

The U.S. Department of Agriculture now says some of the mystery seeds from China are herbs and plants.

The agency told Business Insider 14 species of the seeds have been identified, including mustard, cabbage, morning glory, mint and even rosemary.

Over the last few weeks, people across United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have received packets of seeds from China.

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Officials advised residents that if they received seeds from China or from another foreign source and you did not order them, you should not plant them.

Officials said this is likely an international internet scam known as “brushing.”

“According to the Better Business Bureau, foreign, third-party sellers use your address and Amazon information to generate a fake sale and positive review to boost their product ratings,” said Phil Wilson, director of the Plant Industry Division.

Anita Dereen, who is a massage therapist and wellness promoter, got seeds in the mail.

“I teach them different ways of eating healthy and to grow your own food,” Dereen, of Charlotte, told Channel 9.

She got the unusual package of seeds in the mail.

“I really wasn’t sure what to do with them, because I was, like, ‘Of course, I didn’t order these,’” she said.

The small package said it was from the south China.

“I was reading it and it said, ‘Cabbage stud earrings,’” Dereen said.

Many individuals are receiving packages of seeds that they did not order from China. These seeds are part of an...

Posted by N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on Monday, July 27, 2020

It did not make sense to her.

The address could not be tracked, and the phone number couldn’t be reached.

“This is definitely something that’s concerning, because we have no way of tracking who it came from and how’d it got here,” Dereen said. “But they have our information.”

The small package said it was from the south China.

“I was reading it and it said, ‘Cabbage stud earrings,’” Dereen said.

It did not make sense to her.

The address could not be tracked, and the phone number couldn’t be reached.

That Amazon freebie may actually be from a scammer

“This is definitely something that’s concerning, because we have no way of tracking who it came from and how’d it got here,” Dereen said. “But they have our information.”

The department said the seeds could be used as a pathway to introduce invasive species, inspects or plant diseases to the area.

Agriculture officials in South Carolina, Louisiana, Washington State, Virginia, Tennessee and Kansas have also posted notices about the packets.

A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said the address labels were forged.

Anyone who has gotten one of these packets is asked to save it along with all shipping labels and contact the Plant Industry Division at 800-206-9333 or email at newpest@ncagr.gov.

The department will contact you to gather information and pick up the package.