It turns out some people even ate them, according to a report.
Remember all those mystery seeds that were sent to Americans from China a few months ago? It turns out that hundreds of people planted them, and some folks even ate them!
Thousands of people reported receiving an unsolicited package in the mail from China that contained then-unidentified seeds. The packages were often labeled as jewelry and received by residents in all 50 states. The arrival of the packages spawned a huge investigation involving the USDA, FBI, and the US Customs and Border Protection (CPB).
Warnings went out from state departments of agriculture, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), not to plant them, not to eat them, to save the seeds in their original packaging and contact their state agriculture officials. The USDA has since identified several species of plants contained in the packages; some are garden vegetables and fruits, others are weeds, and some are invasive species not native to the U.S.
An intense look by Jason Koebler of Vice into thousands of documents from different state departments of agriculture, through the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that the number of people affected was larger than originally thought—and a lot of people did not follow the guidelines or advice to let the seeds be.
WHO ATE THE SEEDS??? https://t.co/fgYVNx5TI0— Motherboard (@motherboard) September 12, 2020
"Conservatively, it is safe to say that tens of thousands of Americans received what they perceived to be Chinese mystery seeds in July. Some states, like North Carolina, had more than 1,000 people contact the department of agriculture having received unsolicited seeds. Others, like New Mexico, had roughly 100 recorded seed receivers. Many of these seed receivers, regardless of location, panicked."
“I planted them in my hydroponic system in my home, I thought they were the strawberry seeds I ordered from Amazon. They turned Black and green mold, so I threw them away,” one Michigan resident wrote.
One woman from New Mexico was completely honest in her plea for help after planting seeds she thought she had ordered:
“About a month ago, I did receive seeds from China...and, umm, like a dumbass, I planted them, not knowing there was a problem. And now, I've been battling this for a couple weeks. Now, where I planted them, and I remember where I planted them, everything that's in the garden where I planted them are having a hard time and are starting to die … I really don't know what to do at this point, so could somebody call me back and give me a little bit of direction about this?"
Curiously enough, there were several reports from people who had eaten the seeds or planted the seeds and then eaten what grew from them. It seems a bit alarming that so many people would be willing to ingest something they had not ordered, could not identify, and had been told not to. Thankfully, no one so far has reported getting violently ill or worse from eating the seeds.
Some people reported being panicked after planting the unidentified seeds thinking they were ones that had been legitimately ordered through Amazon. Amazon has since banned the sale of seeds and plants from international sources.
The documents that Vice was able to read did not shed much light into where the seeds originated; however, it's clear that this is an ongoing situation.
If you happen to have some of the mystery seeds, please do not plant then or eat them. Place the seeds and packaging in a plastic bag and contact your state agriculture department for further instruction. The USDA has advised states to destroy all seeds and plants grown from them out of an abundance of caution.
What do you think about all this? Did you receive any of these mystery seeds? Do you know anyone who planted or ate them? We want to hear all about your experiences in the comments.