Nationwide mystery: Seed packages appear in Southern Colorado

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COLORADO SPRINGS– Mysterious packages of unsolicited seeds are popping up all across the country – and now in Southern Colorado.

The Department of Agriculture in Colorado says unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.

FOX21 viewers sent us these images of the packages, which contain unknown seeds with no invoice and no explanation. The packages say the contents are ‘jewelry,’ ‘earrings,’ and ‘wire connectors.”

Courtesy FOX21 viewer: Linda Johnson

“It doesn’t look right, it looks suspicious,” said Linda Johnson of Cañon City.

Johnson received the package a few months back and said it was labeled ‘earrings.’

The packages appear to be from China and the word ‘untracked’ is printed on the front.

Anonymous FOX21 viewer photos

“That’s the way they are getting it through customs and bypassing the USDA and all of the things that are required for an agricultural product to come into the country,” said a FOX21 viewer who wanted to remain anonymous.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is investigating the seeds and will be shipping labels to people who are in possession of the seeds so they can send them in for examination.

“The Colorado Department of Agriculture has received numerous reports from across the state of people receiving unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail that appear to have originated from China and other countries and labeled as containing jewelry or other items. Unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and State departments of agriculture to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds. Anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds should immediately contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industry Division at cda_nursery@state.co.us or at 303-548-5333 or the APHIS State plant health director.  Please hold onto the seeds and packaging in its original package safely, including the mailing label, until someone from the Colorado Department of Agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins, and do not put the seeds in the trash, which could ultimately end up in the landfill and then sprout. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.”

Colorado Department of Agriculture

FOX21 reached out to the United States Postal Service.

The Inspection Service is aware of the mailings and are consulting with our federal, state and local partners. If you receive one of these unsolicited seed mailings, please dispose of the seeds properly in accordance with local authorities.” 

United State Postal Service spokesperson

Any Coloradan who receives an unsolicited package of seeds should:

  • Immediately contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industry Division by emailing cda_nursery@state.co.us or calling 303-548-5333, or contact the APHIS State plant health director.  
  • Hold onto the seeds in their original packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from the Colorado Department of Agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions.
  • Avoid planting seeds from unknown origins, and do not put the seeds in the trash, where they could ultimately end up in the landfill and then sprout. 

Similar shipments have been reported in multiple other states, including Kentucky, North Carolina, TennesseeVirginia, and Ohio

Stay with FOX21 for more updates on this investigation.

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