If you've been waiting for what feel like ages for that pretty new bracelet or bathing suit to arrive in the mail, make sure you carefully inspect the package before opening it. It might not be what you expected. Instead of a new addition to your closet, you might be one of many Americans that have reportedly received mysery seeds from China in the mail.
The unknown seeds come in packages that are marked as jewelry or other items, according to Twitter users, who have shared concerns and photos online of the unsolicited packages. One person said their mystery seeds arrived in a package marked "ear studs." According to the poster, the packaged arrived from China.
Another Twitter user had a similar experience. They shared a photo of black seeds that, according to the poster, arrived in a package saying it had a ring inside.
The United States Department of Agriculture posted a statement to its website on Tuesday, July 28, acknowledging the mysery seeds. The USDA said that it was aware of the suspicious packages that have been received by people across the country. The organization is reportedly working with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection to investigate the packages.
If you receive the seeds in the mail, you should not eat or plant them in your garden. The USDA suggests that anyone who receives the seeds should contact their state's plant regulatory official immediately. The organization further urges people to keep the seeds, packaging and shipping label while they await futher instructions.
The USDA reports that seeds from the packages have been collected and they will be tested to determine if they're potentially harmful to the environment or the country's agricultural system. So for now, when it comes to gardening, stick to easily identifiable fruits and veggies.