Packages of suspicious seeds sow confusion in Omaha, across US

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 9:26 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Suspicious seeds have been showing up at homes across the country. The government warns people not to plant them.

While no one knows who is sending them, officials have an idea as to what is going on.

The seeds come in all shapes and sizes while showing up in unexpected packages. University of Nebraska Extension Educator John Fech has been getting calls about the seeds showing up in a client’s mail.

“It just didn’t look right. It just didn’t look exactly like she was expecting,” he said. “A little bit suspicious, not a lot of information about what was in the packages.”

The Better Business Bureau says the packages bear the name “China Post” and may be labeled as items like small electronics or jewelry.

That’s how it appeared at a Council Bluffs home.

The packaging includes numbers and characters while the seeds are tiny.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is leading with the warning: do not plant them.

“The seeds themselves could be state or federal noxious weeds, or could carry plant pathogens, insects or diseases that are not known to occur in Nebraska and in the U.S. We definitely don’t want those pests getting out,” said Julie Van Meter, a state entomologist.

She and others are cautious but suspect it may only be a scam.

“There doesn’t appear to be anything nefarious about these other than it appears to be a brushing scam, where unsolicited packages are sent to individuals, and then false reviews are created in an effort to boost sales,” she said.

Fech says if these show up at your door, call your local U.S. Department of Agriculture Office.

“Just leave everything in the packaging. Put it in a clear Ziploc bag, wash your hands with soap and water. And then contact the state regulatory agency,” he said.

If you get this kind of suspicious mail, you need to save it.

Federal agencies want to get all the evidence they can in their investigation.

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