Virginia is the latest state to report residents receiving unsolicited mysterious seeds in packets marked with Chinese writing, according to a release from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on Friday.
The department “has been notified that several Virginia residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China,” the release said. “The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them.”
Reports of seed deliveries are still continuing to come in, so a definitive number of cases in the state isn’t available, said the department's director of communications, Michael Wallace.
Recipients of the seeds are urged to report them to Virginia’s Office of Plant Industry Services.
According to Salt Lake City’s Fox 13 channel in Utah, residents there have also been receiving seeds in the mail that they did not purchase and that arrive in packages with Chinese writing. A similar story was reported by the Daily Mail about United Kingdom residents last week.
Both the Utah and UK stories said many of the seed packets were labeled as containing ear jewelry.
Seed importation is highly regulated in the U.S. and most countries because of the risks of spreading diseases and pests that could harm or destroy domestic crops or other plants.
Wallace said the Office of Plant Industry “will be conducting investigations and will be collaborating with the [U.S. Department of Agriculture] to contain and identify the seeds.”