More than 750 Canadians received unsolicited packages of seeds
By Diego Flammini
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the contents of some unknown seed packages Canadians have been receiving.
“The seeds are from a range of plant species, including tomato, strawberry, rose and citrus, as well as some weed seeds that are common in Canada,” the CFIA said in an Aug. 6 update.
The weed seeds include shepherd’s purse and flixweed.
Inspections suggest the seeds are low risk, the CFIA added.
Officials are reminding Canadians not to plant or discard the seeds.
“We are concerned so that’s why I would encourage everybody who has received the unknown seeds to return it to the (CFIA),” Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told reporters on Aug. 1. “And please do not open it and do not plant it.”
Invasive plants in crops and pastures cost an estimated $2.2 billion each year, the CFIA estimates.
The CFIA started receiving notifications of unsolicited envelopes of seeds showing up in Canadian mailboxes in July.
Since then, more than 750 people have contacted the CFIA to report similar deliveries.
“The CFIA is considering all options, including the possibility that an e-commerce business is trying to boost online sales by sending unrequested products to consumers and posting fake positive reviews, also known as ‘brushing,’”, the inspection agency said.
The seeds have been coming in small envelopes originating in Asia and are usually labelled as jewelry or other goods.
People in multiple countries including the United States, India, Scotland and Australia have also reported receiving seed packages.
Farms.com has reached out to the Canadian Council on Invasive Species for comment.