Officials have warned against planting unwanted seeds from China

Seedlings from similar 2020 cases (Image: MDARD)

If you receive a package of seeds in the mail that you did not order from another country, do not plant them.

The alert comes after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) reported people receiving packets of unwanted seeds from China. A similar case was reported in 2020.

“If you receive unsolicited seed from another country, do not open the packaging or plant the seed,” said Mike Phillip, director of MDARD’s Division of Pesticides and Plant Pest Management. “USDA testing of these packages identified hundreds of seeds, including a wide range of noxious weeds, from cannabis to vegetable and flower seeds.”

Most people who received these seeds did not order anything and the packaging was labeled as jewelry. Others have reported ordering seeds on Amazon and receiving these seeds.

According to MDARD, the seeds are shipped in different arrays of packaging with letters in different colored parcels.

While it remains under investigation, the state says it may be part of a “brushing” scam in which a seller sends a cheap product to a random person and then submits a positive review on behalf of that person, who has no idea.

The state is also investigating whether these seeds are dangerous

“These unknown seeds can be invasive, introduce diseases to native plants or be harmful to livestock. If planted, these unknown and potentially invasive species can have a very negative impact on the environment. Additionally, we urge people not to throw away the plants. Seeds or packages away or dispose of them,” said Philip. “MDARD appreciates the cooperation of Michiganders who receive these packages as they work together to protect Michigan agriculture.”

If you find these seeds, report them to MDARD’s Customer Service Center, which is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 800-292-3939 or via [email protected].

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