Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing more and more reports of folks receiving mysterious packages of seeds from China and other countries that they never ordered. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Missouri Department of Agriculture have been working with folks to secure and identify these mystery seeds and to ensure unsuspecting individuals don’t plant these seeds, which could be dangerous or invasive species not native to the United States.
The good news is that the USDA has identified many of the seeds that have been secured as harmless plants, like mustard, cabbage, morning glory, mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, hibiscus, and roses. The bad news is that there are some reports of these seeds being coated with a purple substance, which sounds a lot like a seed treatment. As many farmers will know, this isn’t something you want to come in contact with if you can avoid it, especially considering this seed treatment hasn’t been evaluated in the United States.
While the USDA has identified some of the seeds Americans have received as harmless, they are still urging folks that get these mystery seeds in the mail to work with the USDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture to identify and safely dispose of the seeds. The Missouri Department of Agriculture recommends Missouri residents follow this guidance if they receive unsolicited seeds in the mail:
- Do not open the seed package.
- Do not plant the seeds if you have opened the package.Do not dispose of the seeds, packages or envelopes.
- Please place the seeds in a ziploc-style bag, as well as any remaining associated shipping packaging that you may still have (including outer shipping envelope that includes the shipping label), then mail to:
USDA APHIS PPQ
1715 Southridge Dr.
Jefferson City, MO 65109
If you already planted the seeds, USDA has provided the following guidance:
- Remove the seeds or plants and at least 3 inches of the surrounding soil and place inside a plastic bag.
- Squeeze out the air and tightly seal the bag.
- Place the bag inside a second plastic bag, squeeze out the air and seal it tightly.
- Put the bag in the municipal trash. Do not compost it.
- If you planted the seeds in reusable pots or containers, wash the planting container with soap and water to remove any remaining dirt. It’s important to wash the container over a sink or other container to catch the run-off. Put the run-off down the drain or flush down a toilet.
- Soak clean planting container in a 10 percent bleach and water solution for 30 minutes.
Based on what we know now, it appears this is all part of what is known as a “brushing scam,” where online retailers, often from China, send unsolicited packages containing items of a minimal value to people and then post fake online reviews for their products. The idea behind all of this is to con American consumers into buying whatever poorly made junk these con artists are hocking on the internet. It’s an unbelievable slap in the face to Americans who are currently struggling through a global pandemic that is a direct result of the lies of the communist regime in China. So remember, if you get strange seeds in the mail that you didn’t order, don’t open the seed package and definitely don’t plant them.