Mystery seeds arrive at Australian homes
A bizarre trend has now reached Australian shores, with dozens of unsuspecting households finding packets of mysterious seeds in their mailboxes.
The packages have been finding their way across the globe in recent months, with similar cases reported in the UK, US, Europe and Canada.
While their exact origins are unknown, it is widely believed the seeds were sent from Asia.
Australian authorities and agriculture groups have warned the items could pose a serious biosecurity threat.
According to the ABC, 36 seed packages had landed at addresses across the country over the past five weeks, with most sent from China, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Australian Seed Federation (ASF) CEO Osman Mewett has urged all Australians who receive an unsolicited package to report it to the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment immediately.
Mystery seeds from China: individuals in France have received mystery seed packets from China that they did not order. What should you do with them? ⬇️https://t.co/Tro1Citttt pic.twitter.com/AtoJYw8PCR— The Connexion (@ConnexionFrance) August 24, 2020
He said all mystery seeds should be destroyed to prevent a potential disaster.
"If you receive seed packages via the mail that you have not ordered, please report these to Australia's biosecurity officials as soon as possible," he said.
"You should only plant and use seed from known and trusted sources."
Mr Mewett explained that legally imported seeds underwent rigorous testing by seed companies to ensure they met Australia's notoriously tough biosecurity criteria in order to prevent plant pests that could cause chaos within the sector.
Has anyone found out what these mystery seeds are yet from China pic.twitter.com/N8TylhNq8B— CENSORED (@CENSORE25382061) August 22, 2020
He said seeds of unknown origin posed a major threat to Australia's biosecurity as there was no guarantee they had been tested, potentially leading to the introduction of new plant pests and invasive species.
"Australian farmers and backyard vegetable growers expect quality seed and ensuring seed health is a very important topic for the Australian seed industry," Mr Mewett said.
"To meet these customer expectations, seed companies focus on the prevention, detection and eradication of seed borne pathogens.
"Healthy seeds, free from known seed borne diseases, are necessary for sustainable food production. Keeping seeds, and consequently plants, healthy is crucial to ensure a sustainable food supply, as well as to protect Australia's environment and agricultural enterprises."
It is understood the Department of Agriculture is investigating the origin of the packages.
News.com.au contacted the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment for comment.
Originally published as Mystery seeds arrive at Australian homes