People in at least six US states have received seed packet, which are labeled as jewelry from china. Farmers in the UK have also received unsolicited deliveries of garden seeds sent from China that are labeled as earbuds. However, agriculture department officials have cautioned to not plant these seeds and not to open the sealed packages.
Reports suggest this is known as agricultural smuggling on receiving such packages the US officials have urged people to report it to the USDA. The mystery packets have been sent to customers, who earlier purchased seeds through sites like Amazon & eBay.
Reports suggest the packages have Chinese characters on the label and contain seed packets of unknown seeds. State agriculture departments said that these are likely to be invasive plant species. Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said invasive species could destroy native plants and insects. It can also severely damage crops and wreak havoc on the environment.
It is yet to ascertain who is sending these packages and why they are being distributed. Agriculture officials have issued warnings to people in Washington, Utah, Kansas, Louisiana and Arizona. A resident in Utah suggested that this could also be a part of brushing e-commerce scam. In this scam the companies create fake orders to boost their ratings.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) officials have stated they are working with Border Force and Customs representatives. They will be using intelligence gathering and profiles of exporters to prevent such materials at the entry points. Reports suggest that DEFRA is also working to raise awareness with sellers and customers of the legal requirements. They have also argued to increase bio security.