Strange seeds appearing in shipped packages

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UPDATED AUG. 4: According to a press release from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection are working together to in the investigation of the mailed packets of Chinese seeds and are now asking residents who receive seeds to hold onto the packets in the original packages and contact Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industry Division at or call 303-548-5333 or contact APHIS at or call 303-371-3355.

Previously, residents were asked to take the seed packets to their local extension office. RBC Extension Agent Linda Masters said anyone with questions about the seeds is welcome to call her at 970-878-9494 or 970-985-8739.

People around the country and in Rio Blanco County have reported finding sealed packets of unidentified seeds in packages they ordered online. Initial reports indicate the seeds are from China or Uzbekistan.

If you are a Rio Blanco County resident and receive a packet of these unsolicited seeds, the RBC Extension office is acting as the drop off place for those packages. The USDA wants to recover as many of the packages as possible for examination. You can call Extension Agent Linda Masters at 970-878-9494 (office) or 970-985-8739 (cell) for more information.

There is a concern that the seeds could be an invasive plant or plants that do not currently exist in the US or may contain seed-borne diseases or unknown seed treatments that could be dangerous to human health.

“At this time, we don’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a ‘brushing scam’ where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales,” said a press release from the USDA.

  • DO NOT open
  • DO NOT throw in the trash
  • DO NOT plant the seeds under any circumstances