By N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA Today
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified 14 kinds of seeds in the mysterious packages that appear to have been sent unsolicited to people around the country.
All 50 states have issued warnings about the packages, some of which contain flowering plants like morning glory, hibiscus and roses, according to Osama El-Lissy, with the Plant Protection program of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. El-Lissy said other packages contain vegetables such as cabbage and herbs including mint, sage, rosemary, and lavender.
A spokesperson for the USDA said the department is urging anyone who receives the packages not to plant them and to contact their state plant regulatory official (county agricultural commissioners in California) and keep the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until they receive further instruction.
“At this time, we don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a ‘brushing scam’ where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales,” the statement said. “USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.”
NOTE – Californians in possession of unsolicited seeds are urged to contact their local county agriculture commissioner.