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Residents reported to the VDACS that they received packets of seeds in the mail with writing on the outside that appears to be Chinese. The seeds have yet to be identified, but officials speculate that the seeds may be of an invasive plant species and are advising residents not to use them.
“Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations,” VDACS officials said in a release.
In some cases, the packages were labeled as containing jewelry or another similarly attractive content.
“I opened them up and they were seeds,” said Lori Culley, a resident from Tooele, Utah. “Obviously they’re not jewelry.”
FOX 13 confirmed that the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will likely team up with Customs and Border Protection to investigate.
Jane Rupp, president of the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB’s) Utah chapter, told FOX 13 the incidents could be a scam known as “brushing” where some companies will send you a product so they can post a fake review in your name.
“That is rather random. I don’t think I’ve heard of seeds before,” Rupp said. “The first thing to do is Google your address and see what’s out there… Numerous things will come up when you Google your address. It’s kind of scary sometimes.”
Anyone who has received this type of package is asked to contact the Office of Plant Industry Services (OPIS) at 804-786-3515 or send an email to [email protected]