HARRISBURG (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is warning residents to report any unordered and mislabeled packages of seeds from overseas.
The seeds have been in packages labeled as containing jewelry, and there are reports of these packages across the country.
“Seeds sold in Pennsylvania are rigorously tested to ensure that they are genetically pure and regulated to ensure that what’s on the label is what’s in the package,” Secretary Redding said. “Planting seeds without knowing what they are can wreak havoc with our environment, destroy agricultural crops and incur costly control efforts for years to come.”
Officials say this is part of a scam called “brushing,” meant to boost a company’s online sales by shipping a company package to an actual address. Someone will then pretend they received the “product” and give it a positive review. Officials say that packages normally are empty based on past scams, but in this case, the packages have unlabeled seeds.
People who receive packages like this are asked by the state Department of Agriculture to keep the package and the seeds and report the incident to the federal Department of Agriculture’s confidential Antismuggling Hotline, 800-877-3835 or email SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.