Canadians report receiving mystery seeds

Canadians report receiving mystery seeds
Aug 04, 2020

The CFIA is advising recipients not to plant them

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is encouraging Canadians not to plant unsolicited seeds that arrive in the mail.

These warnings come after people in Alberta and Manitoba reported receiving small envelopes from Asia labelled as other goods but containing bags of seeds.

The Ontario Provincial Police also posted on its Facebook page encouraging people to report any seeds they might receive.

“Do not plant seeds from unknown origins,” the CFIA said in a July 28 statement. “Unauthorized seeds could be the seeds of invasive plants, or carry plant pests, which can be harmful when introduced into Canada. These species can invade agricultural and natural areas, causing serious damage to our plant resources.”

The CFIA is also asking Canadians not to dispose of the seeds because they could sprout, but to put them in the freezer to kill any potential insects.

Anyone who does receive a package of seeds should keep the bag and the envelope it came in and contact his or her regional CFIA office.

For seeds to enter Canada legally, the importer must provide documents including confirmation of the seeds’ origin, purpose of importation and freedom of noxious weed seeds.

Natalie Dempsey from Westlock, Alta. found a package of seeds in her mailbox a few weeks ago.

“It was specifically addressed to me, but there’s no name of anybody on it,” she told Global News. “I opened it up and there’s this little tiny packet of grass seed in it, is what it looked like.”

In Brandon, Man., Jolene Patterson received a similar package.

“I have concern and curiosity from what I have read,” she told CTV. “It could have come from any website that a person is signed up to.”

Residents south of the border have also received unsolicited seed deliveries.

People from all 50 U.S. states have contacted United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials to report seed packages.

As of July 29, the USDA has identified 14 seed species including mustard, cabbage, morning glory and herbs like mint, sage and rosemary.

People in Europe and New Zealand have also received similar seed envelopes.

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