Ag officials warn of mystery seed shipments
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 7/28/20, 03:54 pm
Individuals in several states report they have received packages of seeds from foreign countries they did not order. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said many of the shipments appear to have originated in China.
Is this some sort of prank? Phil Wilson of the Plant Industry Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the shipments could be part of an internet scam known as “brushing,” where “foreign, third-party sellers use your address and Amazon information to generate a fake sale and positive review to boost their product ratings.”
Quarles noted there is not yet enough information to know whether the seeds are part of a hoax or “an act of agricultural bioterrorism,” warning recipients not to plant them: “Unsolicited seeds could be invasive and introduce unknown diseases to local plants, harm livestock or threaten our environment.” He and officials in several other states have asked recipients of the suspicious shipments to contact their state agriculture department immediately.
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Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.