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Mystery seeds identified as flower, vegetable and herbs, according to state tests
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Mystery seeds identified as flower, vegetable and herbs, according to state tests

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Mystery seeds identified as flower, vegetable and herbs, according to state tests

This photo taken from a slide show released by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, shows some of the unsolicited packages containing seeds that have been received by Alabama residents.

Unsolicited seeds delivered to Alabama residents have so far been identified as flower seeds, vegetable seeds and herbs, according to a news release from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

On Monday, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate shared the test results of unsolicited seed packages delivered to Alabama residents. Last week, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) received hundreds of reports from residents who received packages of seeds from China they did not order. So far, the department has received 385 reports of unsolicited seed packages.

Field inspectors have collected 252 samples with over half of the recipients reporting they ordered seeds online in the past year. Packages have been marked “China Post” and “untracked.” Several packages indicate contents are “jewelry,” according to the news release.

Samples were analyzed for identification and tested for unknown compounds, noxious weed seed and invasive species. Seeds identified so far have been 50% flower seeds, 41% vegetable seeds and 9% herbs. Of the 17 samples tested for dangerous compounds, none have been detected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stated that the seed packages are likely part of a "brushing scam" where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales.

Packages have been reported in 56 counties. Top 10 counties receiving seed packages include: Baldwin, Jefferson, Mobile, Montgomery, Madison, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, Houston, Lee and Cullman.

Those who receive unsolicited seed packages should report them at www.agi.alabama.gov/reportseeds or call 334-240-7304. Residents are advised to not open the seed plackets nor plant the seeds. Residents should not discard the sees and are asked to keep any packaging, including the mailing label.

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