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N.H. Officials: If You Get A Packet Of Seeds In The Mail From China, Don't Plant Them

Ewen Roberts, Flickr CC

State Agriculture Officials are warning New Hampshire residents not to plant packets of seeds that may arrive in the mail, unrequested, and with return addresses in China.

People across the world have begun to receive small packages of all sorts, as part of an e-commerce scam known as "brushing." Sellers create fake orders in order to boost their rating on websites like Amazon, which moves their products closer to the top of search results.

Piera Siegert with the New Hampshire Division of Plant Industry says the USDA is heading up an investigation of the shipments, which appear to be flouting international trade rules that certify that no invasive seeds are being sent.

"When they come in from overseas and they don't go through that process, that certification process, then you can't be certain of those things that you want in the seeds that your receive," Siegert says.

Any resident who receives the seeds should save them, not plant them, and contact the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture Markets and Food.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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