unsolicited seeds

Conn. Residents Receive Unsolicited Packages of Seeds: Officials

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Officials are asking anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds not to plant them and to report it to state plant regulatory officials right away.

This comes after several Connecticut residents have received seeds that appear to be from China.

"It was strange. I didn't recognize it, opened it up, and saw seeds," explained Granby resident Tom Smith. He and his wife Karen received one of the packages.

At first, they thought it might be seeds they ordered in April that have been backordered, But when they heard on the news that other people have received the same strange delivery, they contacted the CT Department of Agriculture.

"One lady said it's just starting in Connecticut over the weekend," Karen told NBC Connecticut. "She said seal it up in the plastic ziploc, don't touch it or open it, she'll get back to me later."

The type of seeds are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species, officials said. Invasive plant species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy plants and insects and severely damage crops, according to officials.

The CT Department of Agriculture and the CT Agricultural Experiment Station said the packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them.

People in other states across the U.S. have also received the packages of seeds over the last several days, officials said.

Kentucky's Agriculture Commissioner said "we don't have enough information to know if this is a hoax, a prank, an internet scam, or an act of agriculture bioterrorism."

Delaware officials wrote "it's believed that these shipments are part of a brushing scam where shippers send out low-cost items at their own expense in order to rank higher on e-commerce sites."

The DOA and CAES said taking steps to prevent the introduction of invasive plant species is the most effective method in reducing the risk of infestation and the cost of controlling those infestations.

Connecticut officials are asking anyone who receives an unsolicited bag of seeds to immediately contact their state plant regulatory officials, Dr. Kirby Stafford at 203-974-8485 or kirby.stafford@ct.gov or Dr. Victoria Smith at 203-974-8474 or victoria.smith@ct.gov.

Anyone with seeds is asked to hold onto them and the packaging until given further instructions.

Residents across the United States are finding packages of seeds mailed to them from China in what is believed to be part of a scam to skew online shopping algorithms.
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