Agriculture Officials Warn Americans Not To Plant 'Suspicious Seeds' Coming In Mail From China

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture has been fielding calls about suspicious seeds showing up in the mail from China, which have turned up across the country.

Authorities are uncertain what the seeds are, who is sending them, and whether they could be hazardous. 

But the mystery seeds and packages are however popping up throughout Illinois.

Little Village resident Sandra Serrato said she received some in the mail.

Serrato told CBS 2 that there is Chinese writing on the label and it says the package contains a necklace.

“It was an international label with Chinese writing on it,” Serrato said, “and it declared it as a necklace.”

But there was no jewelry inside the package – just seeds. 

“I didn’t think anything of it until yesterday, I saw the article about seeds coming in from China and packages labeled ‘jewelry,’” she said.

"My name was on there, my address was on there – so that was my concern is, how is that I’m getting random packages all the way from China?” 

It is a mystery sweeping the nation – seeds in the mail that they never ordered. Agriculture officials in multiple states have issued warnings about unsolicited shipments of foreign seeds and advised people not to plant them.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture wants to hear from anyone who receives them. The department said it has heard from about 100 people as of Tuesday. 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture released a statement stating not to plant the seeds and to not throw them away, either. The department is trying to determine what they are.

“We are currently working with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to address reports of unsolicited shipments of seeds from foreign countries. Anyone who receives unordered seeds in the mail should contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture by emailing the following information to First and Last Name, Phone Number and the number of packages received. Do not open the package, plant the seeds, or throw them out. Please keep all seeds unopened and with their original packaging and labels, including mailing labels, until further instruction is provided.”