Many Americans have received small packages from China with unidentified seeds inside.
The packages labelled as jewellery were delivered by mail to residents of the states of Utah, Virginia, Washington, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Texas. What happened led local authorities to issue alerts to citizens.
I received in Austin, TX yesterday. Double sealed and stored for inspection if USDA gets back to me. pic.twitter.com/u4SHyep83K
— Chad Andrews (@TMEIBV) July 25, 2020
In Virginia, it was warned that seeds may be an invasive species of plant, which could wreak havoc on the region’s environment, destroy local varieties of plants and insects, as well as crops. The state Department of Agriculture urged anyone who receives unsolicited seeds to report the agrarian authorities.
— VDACS (@VaAgriculture) July 24, 2020
The Washington State Department of Agriculture issued a similar warning, stressing that “We have received reports of people receiving seeds from China that they did not order. If you receive them – don’t plant them.”
We have received reports of people receiving seeds from China that they did not order. If you receive them – don't plant them. Report to @USDA_APHIS at https://t.co/0U53rbAiHs pic.twitter.com/Y4yAKv5bk7
— WA St Dept of Agr (@WSDAgov) July 24, 2020
In Virginia, agrarian authorities reported being unsure of what types of seeds are in those packages. As a precaution, they asked anyone receiving a similar order to contact the state Department of Agriculture immediately.
The avalanche of seed-related reports in the US comes just days after hundreds of British gardeners received similar packages also originating from the Asian country. As in the US, the seeds were shipped as jewellery and other items.
On the networks, the news was received in different ways. Some netizens joked about the issue, while others seriously wondered if the packages were not part of a “strategic biosecurity attack” or a form of “biological warfare” by China against the United States.
Plant and insect-based biological warfare is a real phenomenon. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and other nations of the Eastern Bloc accused the United States of deliberately introducing the potato beetle into their territory, in an attempt to undermine the region’s food security. North Korea and China similarly claimed that the United States had engaged in insect-based biological warfare during the Korean War.