In this file:
· China asks US to return mysterious seeds
· China mystery seeds: Beijing offers to help US investigate source of packages
· Mystery mailings of seeds from China leave USDA fairly clueless
China asks US to return mysterious seeds
South China Morning Post
via Julie Harker, Brownfield - July 29, 2020
China is offering to help the U.S. investigate the unsolicited seed packets sent to Americans through the mail.
China’s foreign ministry says their postal service has contacted the U.S. postal service asking it to return the seeds to China, calling the packets “faked mail.” It says information labels on the packages appeared to be forged.
The USDA and agriculture departments in more than two dozen states are warning recipients not to plant the seeds which could be invasive, noxious species of plants that could compromise crops and the environment...
China mystery seeds: Beijing offers to help US investigate source of packages
· The unsolicited packages have been appearing in postboxes across the country and agriculture officials warn they could be harmful invasive species
· Chinese postal service says it has contacted its US counterpart about the packages, which some police forces say could be part of a scam
Zhuang Pinghui in Beijing, South China Morning Post (China)
28 Jul, 2020
The Chinese postal service has offered to help investigate the source of mysterious packages of seeds that have been appearing in people’s postboxes in the United States.
Residents across the US have reported received unsolicited packages from China, often marked as containing toys or jewellery.
The types of seeds have yet to be identified and agriculture officials have warned residents not to plant them in case they prove to be harmful or invasive species.
On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press briefing: “China Post has asked the United States Postal Service to return this faked mail to China so China can investigate.”
Wang said information labels on the packages appeared to be forged, according to checks by China’s postal service, adding that there were errors in the information attached to the packages.
Wang also said the Chinese postal service strictly adhered to the Universal Postal Union’s rules about handling seeds.
The mystery packages appeared at a time of growing tension between the two countries, including the recent tit-for-tat consulate closures.
Agriculture officials in at least 27 states have warned people who receive the seeds not to plant them and contact the authorities.
The Virginia department of agriculture was one of the departments to warn that they might contain invasive species which “wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops”
“Right now, we are uncertain what types of seeds are in the package,” Mike Strain, the commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, said in a statement.
“We need to identify the seeds to ensure they do not pose a risk to Louisiana’s agricultural industry or the environment.”
However, the police department in Whitehouse, Ohio, suggested on its Facebook page that the seeds may be part of a “brushing” scam.
Under this guerilla marketing practice...
Mystery mailings of seeds from China leave USDA fairly clueless
By Dan Flynn, Food Safety News by Marler Clark
July 30, 2020
From county extension agents to state agriculture commissioners to USDA, the public is being warned about “mysterious and unsolicited seed” shipments coming from China that may show up in their mailboxes. The unsolicited seeds are from China or maybe other parts of Asia.
The seed packages — often labeled as jewelry or toys — are being shipped to post office boxes throughout America. Consumers are being warned not to open or plant the seeds, but instead turn them into agricultural officials.
The immediate fear is the seeds might spread an invasive species that could ” devastate the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects, severely damage crops, and poison livestock,” according to California’s Butte County Agriculture Commissioner Louie Mendoza. The risk of invasive species infestations is a threat to domstic agriculture.
The USDA this week issued a statement that it ” is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China.”
It said the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and state departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
But so far, APHIS has not provided any information about what is contained in the seed packages and speculation is running wild.
The USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their state plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your state department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins...