UTAH

Some foreign mystery seeds identified in Utah

Aug 4, 2020, 7:09 AM
china cook seeds utah UDAF...
Warnings about unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to be coming from China have now extended to all 50 states. Credit: Washington State Dept. of Agriculture

SALT LAKE CITY— Mystery seeds are continuing to show up in mailboxes across Utah.  Robert Hougaard, Director of Plant Industry at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), says they’ve gotten more than 200 notifications from citizens who are saying “I got them!” Followed often by, “But I don’t know why.”  

Hougaard says the seeds are varied and they are ID’ing quite a few of them. “We’ve had some onions that we were able to identify today… there’s been some “weedy” species… some of them have been flower seeds, like Black-Eyed Susans… It’s just really baffling the different kinds of things we’ve received, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.”

There have been reports of this happening all over the US.  When the overseas-sent mystery seeds first starting showing up, some authorities had a theory that they were invasive species sent to ruin a part of American agriculture, but Hougaard says they don’t seem to be ALL bad seeds.

“From what we’ve seen so far, they are not.” But they are also not what they seem, or at least, labeled.

“Almost all the time they are labeled as jewelry. The packaging says ‘earrings,’ or “necklaces,’  or even as generic as ‘jewelry.’  Just last week we got one with a little plastic clip, [for maybe a] phone, and it’s got seeds in it.”  The USDA says they think it is some kind of “brushing scam” where people get free stuff from a seller who then posts fake customer reviews to boost sales. 

Hougaard says most of the seeds are from China, but many have also come from Malaysia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.     

Thoughts of a plot aside, the strangest part of it all seems to be the pure “randomness” of the whole thing.  Hougaard wondered if some of those getting the seeds sent had their information mined from a gardening website. 

“Some people have ordered seeds [from the internet], but some people… have only bought locally. Other people haven’t ordered anything [for gardening].” 

Hougaard says UDAF says he’s funneling all the information they get to the USDA, who is then contacting retailers like Amazon to see if they can establish a link. 

So there is a new directive if you get the mystery seeds, not to destroy them or throw them away, but mail them to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.  The UDAF mailing address is:

Utah Department of Agriculture and Food
ATTN: State Seed Lab
PO Box 146500
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6500


Seeds from China: Utah residents urged to deliver unsolicited seeds to Department of Ag for testing

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

QAnon Utah race...
The Associated Press

Utah’s GOP Congressmen defeat primary challengers

Utah's four GOP congressmen win primary elections, move on to November's general election.
1 day ago
Two people were injured in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning in Brigham City....
Mark Jones

Two people injured in Brigham City two-vehicle crash

Brigham City emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning that sent two people to the hospital.
1 day ago
FILE - Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, addresses a crowd during a rally on April 25, 2014, in Sandy, Utah. T...
The Associated Press

Sen. Mike Lee fends off 2 opponents to win Utah GOP primary

Utah Sen. Mike Lee claimed a victory Tuesday night in the state's primary election, defeating two challengers.
1 day ago
Gov. Spencer Cox announced Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is his nominee to serve on t...
Mark Jones

Gov. Cox announces Utah Supreme Court nominee

Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is Gov. Spencer Cox's Utah Supreme Court nominee as announced Tuesday.
1 day ago
Remaining permits for elk and deer hunts this fall will be available to purchase in July....
Mark Jones

Remaining deer, elk permits can be purchased in July

Remaining deer and elk permits for hunts this fall will be available to purchase in July.
1 day ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Becky Bruce

Different abortion law now in effect in Utah

A different abortion law is now in effect in Utah, and it bans abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. However, there are several exceptions to this law.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Some foreign mystery seeds identified in Utah