Virginia and Utah officials have advised residents not to plant unidentified, unsolicited seeds that residents have reported receiving in packets with Chinese text on them.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced Friday that it “has been notified that several Virginia residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China.”
VDACS said neither the number of people who have received the seeds nor the species of plant can yet be confirmed.
“The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them,” the VDACS statement continued.
A Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City also reported this week that Utah residents have also been receiving unsolicited seed packages with Chinese writing over the past two weeks.
Tooele, Utah, resident Lori Culley told Fox 13 that most of the writing on a package she received Tuesday was in Chinese, though the label indicated it contained earrings.
“I opened them up and they were seeds,” Culley said. “Obviously they’re not jewelry!”
The Utah Department of Agriculture is investigating the instances with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Fox station reported. The two agencies urged residents to report when they receive the seeds and not to plant them.
The Daily Mail last week reported similar incidents in Great Britain.