(Above) Clear Lake resident Kendra Walker received these seeds, shipped from China. They have now been forwarded to the USDA for investigation.
by Marianne Gasaway
It’s fun to get packages in the mail, but unsolicited packages have begun showing up at local addresses, raising concerns about their contents.
According to the USDA, people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.
Kendra Walker, from Clear Lake, said she placed two orders for pampas grass through Amazon this spring. One small packet of seeds arrived in June, which she thought may be too late for planting and so she set it aside. Late last month, a second packet arrived.
“I might not have thought that much about it, but the seeds in the second pack were very tiny. They didn’t look anything like the first pack,” she said. Upon closer examination, she saw that the actual package they were shipped in came from the “north side of the west gate of South China Avenue, Longgang District, Shenzhen.”
Adding to the mystery of the package was the listing of its contents: “grass stud earring.”
In the weeks between her first shipment of seeds and the second, Walker said she had become aware, through social media, that people throughout the United States had received seeds. She contacted the Iowa Department of Agriculture in Des Moines to report her experience.
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