There sure was A LOT going on in 2020, so I wouldn’t fault you if you didn’t remember this. There was period in which folks across the U.S. were getting weird packets of seeds in the mail. It’s happening again in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says they are once again getting reports of residents receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds from China in the mail.
Back in 2020, MDARD shared the below photo:
People are getting the seeds in all kinds of packaging, from envelopes to boxes, in all kinds of colors.
People are confused – understandably so! – because they say they didn’t order anything and the packages are often labeled as jewelry.
So what’s up with these seeds?
MDARD has issued a warning saying packages could be part of a brushing scam, where basically vendors try to boost product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver. The vendor then submits positive reviews on YOUR behalf.
So what should you do if you get unsolicited seeds in the mail?
Do NOT plant them or even open the package. According to MDARD, the plants could be invasive and harmful to our environment.
Mike Philip, Director of DMARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division says,
USDA testing of these packages has identified hundreds of varieties of seeds, ranging from noxious weeds, to cannabis, to a wide array of vegetable and flower seeds… These unknown seeds could be invasive, introduce disease to local plants, or be harmful to livestock. If planted, these unknown and potentially invasive species could have a very negative impact on the environment.
Currently, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine Smuggling, Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit is currently investigating this situation across the nation.
If you receive an unsolicited package of seeds from China, hold on to the seeds, packaging and mailing label, and contact MDARD’s Customer Service Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at 800-292-3939 or via MDA-Info@michigan.gov.