Residents of Utah have shared incidents of receiving small packages with Chinese writing that indicated the items as jewelry, according to FOX 13. These boxes actually contained unidentified seeds from China, recipients told FOX 13.
“I opened them up and they were seeds,” Lori Culley of Tooele, Utah told FOX 13. Culley told the channel that she found the packages on Tuesday. “Obviously they’re not jewelry!”
Fox 13 confirmed that the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will likely investigate in coordination with Customs and Border Protection.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also made an announcement Friday, stating that they were aware of several residents receiving “packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China.” Noting that they have not identified the nature of the seeds yet, VDACS warned it “may be invasive plant species. VDACS asked recipients to not plant the unsolicited seeds and report them to the Office of Plant Industry Services.
While the nature of the seeds awaits further investigation, the risk of invasive species could potentially pose a large threat. A 2016 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at the global impact invasive insects and pathogens carry and showed that they could result in a multi-billion-dollar threat for agriculture around the world.