This certainly sounds very strange, have you received packages of seeds from China that you never asked for?

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is warning Michigan residents who receive these packages not to open, discard or plant the seeds.  They inform us that these packages are usually white in color with Chinese lettering and the words “China Post” written on them.

The advisory states:

“Most recipients say they did not order anything, and that the packaging was labeled as jewelry. Some recipients have reported ordering seeds on Amazon and receiving these seeds.”

Mike Philip, director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division stated in that advisory:

“If you receive unsolicited seeds from another country, do not plant them. If they are in sealed packaging, do not open the package…We don’t know what type of seeds are in the packages, but we do know they come in a variety of sizes and colors, with some reported to be very tiny. These unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.”

Could it be a way for China to bring some type of invasive species into our eco-system or some company attempting a “brushing” scam?  What is a “brushing” scam?  According to the advisory a “brushing” scam is an:

“exploit by a vendor used to bolster product ratings and increase visibility online by shipping an inexpensive product to an unwitting receiver and then submitting positive reviews on the receiver’s behalf under the guise of a verified owner.”

If you receive one of these unsolicited packages the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine Smuggling, Interdiction and Trade Compliance Unit is informing us not to throw them away or open them.

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.

This is certainly an interesting situation that I would like to hear more of and when I do, I will definitely update all of you.

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