Belgian food authorities have warned that small packages of seeds being shipped to country residents by unknown senders mainly in China should not be planted but destroyed.
Food chain authority AFSCA/FAVV caught notice of the arrival of the unsolicited packages, which had already been reported by residents in other European countries as well as in the United States and Canada.
At least one person in Belgium has reported receiving the mysterious seed package as well, AFSCA said in a press release.
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AFSCA urged residents to not plant the seeds and to instead throw of them away, still packaged, in the non-recyclable waste bins so they could be incinerated.”
“In order to avoid the potential introduction of plant diseases or of invasive plant species, AFSCA asks citizens who receive these grains to destroy them,” the agency said.
The agency is also asking residents to forward them photos of the seeds and of the package in order to help their investigation into the seeds’ origin.
In line with reports from other countries, AFSCA said that the majority of the seed packs were coming from China and other countries in Asia.
It is currently unclear why the packs are being sent unsolicited, with some reports suggesting that the seeds are being sent as part of a so-called brushing scam, in which companies seeking to boost sales records and product reviews by buying their own, inexpensive items.
The agency said that it was leading an investigation with other food authorities in Europe to track the origin of this “unsolicited flow of seeds.”
The results of the investigation will then be sent to the European Commission, AFSCA said.
The Brussels Times