US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials have identified several of the seeds that were mailed to citizens in several US states from China.
An analysis of the seeds revealed that some Amazon.com shoppers were sent a “mix of ornamental, fruit and vegetable, herb and weed species" in packages they did not purchase.
Officials maintained that people should not plant any mysterious seeds they are sent and should continue reporting them to law enforcement. “This is just a subset of the samples we’ve collected so far,” Osama El-Lissy, deputy administrator for the department’s Plants Protection and Quarantine division, said.
Officials believe it may be part of an Amazon "brushing" scam whereby sellers obtain the addresses of customers and send them an unrequested product in the hopes that the customer will use the product and leave a positive review.
The Chinese government denied responsibility for the seed shipments after US officials questioned whether the shipments could be considered "agricultural bioterrorism."