One of the irreplaceable pillars of food production is seeds. The collective rights to use community seeds are established and respected well enough within each community for their use to be regulated.
But laws become the utmost necessary once the seeds are commercialized on a large scale by companies who produce them with unknown methods in unknown locations. Often these locations are beyond the national borders. These seeds can be a potential health hazard for the vast population of any country it gains access to. For such cases, laws become necessary to combat the fraud, counterfeiting, or bad quality seeds that do not germinate or that carry diseases, as well as to regulate G.M.O.s.
So, therefore, any germplasm, be it seeds or other living matter is generally quarantined or at least screened for potential threats like infection, invasive properties, or other biological threats by the country of destination.
But recently, the Government of the United States of America has received significant complaints from different regions of its country. Residents of Washington and Virginia have informed the police officials of receiving unknown packets of seeds in their mailboxes. The packages appear to be delivered from china as it is written on them. A similar case was also seen in the region of Utah, where complaints were filed for the same suit.
Following the complaints, the department of agriculture of those states has issued statements of citizens’ receiving packets in their mail, which they hadn’t ordered. The photos of these packages have been circulated in social media and based upon them; the seeds appear to be sent in white pouches displaying writing in Chinese. Ohio Department of Agriculture also posted photos of the same, showing the seeds have been sent in yellow packages too with the words labeled as “China Post”.
Kansas and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry report that some of those packages of seeds are also delivered in the disguise of jewelry packets or labeled like they contain toys or earbuds. Naturally, people are concerned.
State officials gave warnings of not opening the packages, to the people. Even residents were asked not to plant those seeds since no one knows what kind of seeds they were.
Washington State Department of Agriculture said, “The seeds are sent in packages usually stating that the contents are jewelry. Unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.”
Although officials found the seeds appearing to be not so “directly dangerous”, it was asked to prefer contacting the agriculture community or the local police for safe disposal of those seeds.
Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner, Ryan Quarles, asked residents- “Put the package and seeds in a zip lock bag and wash your hands immediately to report unsolicited packages of seeds to the state’s Agriculture Department.”
The department had heard from some residents who said they had already planted the seeds. The department asked those residents to immediately “destroy whatever is planted” before any official screening of the seeds is done.
In total, near to 1000 emails and several hundred telephone calls have been received by the Agriculture department from the concerned people who had received unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail.
The U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced of working with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and state agriculture departments “to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests.”
“Do not plant seeds from unknown origins. Please hold onto them and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your state department of agriculture or A.P.H.I.S. contacts you with further instructions,” Ms. Sequeira, the head of the department said.
Is this a Brushing Scam?
But there could be another side of the whole incident as said by the Better Business Bureau.
The president of Better Business Bureau, Jane Rupp, told FOX 13 that these incidents could be a part of just a scam. These scams are popularly known as “brushing scams” whereby companies send products to unknown customers randomly so that they can post fake reviews in the name of the customers on behalf of the submitted products. These scams are used to boost the ratings of various products and increase online visibility by shipping an inexpensive product to random customers who benefit the company. The Louisiana agriculture and forestry commissioner, Mike Strain, said to the media about a possible brushing scam too. He said that some seeds appeared to be Waterlily seeds after detailed examinations of some packages of his state.
Is it a scam or some secret propaganda, no one knows till now!
Hopefully, that’s all it is but people can’t be too vigilant with it. But anyway, receiving those packages is undoubtedly not good news for you. The mystery isn’t solved, and there’s too much crazy stuff going on in the world 2020, and a lot of it’s coming from China. Many countries have cut their ties with China as they see them as the root of all the global problems.