Several people across the US have reported receiving packages marked as jewelry that actually contain mysterious seeds from China.
Some Utah residents told Fox 13 they received small packages with Chinese writing indicating that the items were jewelry, but they contained unidentified seeds.
Officials in Virginia and Kentucky told residents who receive these packages not to plant the seeds, as they "may be invasive plant species."
Several people across the US have reported receiving unsolicited packages marked as jewelry that actually contain mysterious seeds from China.
Some Utah residents told Fox 13 in Salt Lake City that they'd received small packages with Chinese writing that indicated the items were jewelry but contained unidentified seeds.
"I opened them up and they were seeds," Lori Culley of Tooele told the outlet of packages she found on Tuesday. "Obviously they're not jewelry!"
Fox 13 reported that the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food would likely investigate in coordination with Customs and Border Protection.
Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also said on Friday that it was aware of reports of several residents receiving "unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China."
The department said that while it had not identified the seeds, they "may be invasive plant species." It asked recipients not to plant the seeds but to contact the Office of Plant Industry Services.
Kentucky's commissioner of agriculture, Ryan Quarles, said on Sunday that Kentucky was "the 4th known state to report suspicious packages appearing to originate from China containing seeds."
Quarles also asked recipients not to plant the seeds, as they "could contain invasive species." He said they should put the package in a bag, wash their hands, and contact the Department of Agriculture.
—Ryan Quarles (@RyanQuarlesKY) July 26, 2020
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also warned residents about the unsolicited seeds in a press release, citing seeds have been reported in multiple states including Virginia, Kansas, Washington, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Utah.
While it's unclear what the seeds are, invasive species pose a large threat. A 2016 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that invasive species represented a multibillion-dollar threat for agriculture around the world.
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