UPDATE: Arkansans receiving mysterious seeds in the mail from China

Local News

UPDATE:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—People across the country, and here in Arkansas, are finding mysterious seeds in their mailbox from China.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is warning people not to open them, throw them away, or plant them.

We talked to a woman in Little Rock who says she got the seed shipment on Friday and was unnerved.

“The label actually has a bunch of writing in Chinese. You’re not sure who sent it, where it came from– what’s inside,” said Carolyn Voiles.

Voiles says she regularly orders things online, but was surprised when she saw this in the mailbox.

“I’ve never ordered anything else from China other than a necklace years ago,” Voiles added.

Voiles describes the seeds as ‘micro seeds’ and compares the size of them to salt.

“It’s very creepy because I’m not sure how they got my address,” said Voiles.

Government officials say they do not believe it’s anymore than a “brushing scam” but they still want to know about it.

If you get one in the mail the Arkansas Department of Agriculture says to report it here.

The Department of Agriculture says they will pick the shipment up and “transfer the seeds to the U-S-D-A for identification or destruction.”

ORIGINAL:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Arkansas Department of Agriculture says they are collecting seeds that were sent in unsolicited packages.

Officials with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture say they have received multiple reports that Arkansans have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China.

According to officials, the types of seeds in the packages are varied.

The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them, according to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture ask Arkansans who received the packages not to open, plant or throw the seeds away.

Officials say to place the unopened seed packet in a sealed bag and report the package using the Unsolicited Seed Reporting Form, or contact the Plant Industries Division at 501-225-1598.

According to a news release from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, once the contact information is received, the department will arrange to have the seeds picked up by a department employee.

The department says they “will transfer the seeds to the USDA for identification and/or destruction.”

Officials say if you have planted the seeds, leave the plants where they are and contact the department for guidance.

The USDA-APHIS does not have any evidence that this is something other than a “brushing scam”, which is sellers send unsolicited items to unsuspecting customers and post false reviews to boost sales.

Officials say based on a preliminary analysis of the seed samples the USDA received on July 17, the seed packets appear to be a mix of horticultural and weed species.

Officials say the sending of unidentified seeds in international shipments is not uncommon. U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates there were 15,000 interceptions of seeds from all sources worldwide, and 5,000 from China and Hong Kong in 2019.

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