Department warns random seeds originating from China may bring in 'invasive' plants

Department warns random seeds originating from China may bring in 'invasive' plants
The Department of Agriculture is investigating mysterious seed packages from China. File picture.

Warnings have been issued to householders not to plant seeds which are being posted to Irish addresses, seemingly at random.

The Department of Agriculture is concerned the seeds could be an invasive species. 

The department has been contacted by "concerned members of the public" who have received unsolicited small packets of seeds from outside the EU in recent days.

"So far, the indications are that all the seed packets received in this manner originated in China," the department said.

"It appears that this situation is similar to that happening in other countries, such as the USA and Canada."

The department added that they are investigating the matter and, to date, only a small number of seed deliveries have been reported in Ireland.

"Although these seeds are yet to be identified, the main concern would be the potential introduction of invasive species or harmful diseases that could cause environmental or economic damage," a department spokesperson said.

The department is also asking anyone who has received the random seeds not to plant them, and to contact them via email on plantimports@agriculture.gov.ie or by telephone on (01) 505 8885.

Last week, UK news outlets reported that similar seed packages were being delivered in the UK, although the package label said the items inside were stud earrings.

A United States Department of Agriculture official, Osama El-Lissy of the Plant Protection program, said that the seeds may be part of a "brushing scam", where online sellers send people items they did not order, in order to generate a transaction to support positive fake reviews of their profile.

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