'Unsolicited seeds' arriving in Victoria mailboxes
Unsolicited seeds that were mailed to an Esquimalt woman last week are shown: (Victoria Police)
VICTORIA -- Mysterious seeds that have been mailed across Canada this year have started arriving in Victoria, according to police.
VicPD says multiple reports have been made of unsolicited seed packages arriving in Victoria and Esquimalt.
On Friday, police were called to a home in the 800-block of Dunsmuir Road in Esquimalt for a report of a “suspicious package” arriving from Italy.
Police collected the package from the home and later opened it. Inside, police found a package of seeds.
If you receive a similar package of unsolicited seeds, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recommends neither planting nor disposing of them, as they can be harmful to the environment.
Instead, call the CFIA at 519-691-1306 or 1-800-442-2342.
As of Aug. 6, more than 750 people had received mysterious seed packages across Canada. Most of the deliveries are from China, according to VicPD.
So far, the seeds that have been mailed do not appear to be dangerous. However, the CFIA notes that planting these seeds could be harmful as the plants could be invasive or spread plant pests.
“Based on visual inspections carried out to date the seeds appear to be low risk, however Canadians are being cautioned to not plant these seeds from unknown origins,” said the CFIA in a statement on Aug. 6.
While Canadian officials have not determined why the mysterious seeds are being mailed, the United States Department of Agriculture has said that the seeds are likely part of a “brushing scam” which involves a company sending packages to unsuspecting people so that they can write a fake online review on behalf of the package receiver.
“The CFIA is considering all options, including the possibility that an e-commerce business is trying to boost online sales by sending unrequested products to customers and posting fake positive reviews, also known as ‘brushing,’” said the agency on Aug. 6.
“The CFIA continues to work with the Canada Border Services Agency and Canada Post, as well as with its international partners to identify the seed origins and stop the flow of unsolicited seeds into Canada.”