New York State residents have reported receiving mysterious seeds from China.
New Yorkers have reported receiving unsolicited packages of seeds from China that are often mislabeled as jewelry, and now the State Department of Agriculture and Markets is asking anyone who gets such a package to forward it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plant health director.
The mysterious packages have been cropping up all around the United States for months, and now the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is investigating. The seeds are of concern to the USDA and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets because, if disposed of improperly or planted, they could introduce invasive plant species and destructive pests to the United States or spread plant pathogens.
The USDA says the mailings appear to be part of a “brushing scam,” in which people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts fraudulent customer reviews to boost sales.
The state says people who receive seeds should not plant or handle the seeds. Instead, they should mail the seeds, the original packaging, contact information, and any relevant additional details to the USDA at: Office of the State Plant Health Director of New York, c/o Christopher Zaloga, 500 New Karner Rd, Albany, NY 12205.
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