Mystery Seeds Identified

October 14, 2020

Mystery Seeds Identified photo

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has identified some of the unsolicited seeds that have arrived in mailboxes across Canada. The seeds are from a range of plant species, including tomato, strawberry, rose and citrus, as well as some weed seeds that are common in Canada (for example, shepherd's purse and flixweed). 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.

It remains unclear why some Canadians are receiving the seeds, or their originators, although some of the recipients reported having ordered seeds online in the past. 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".

These shipments of seeds are considered 'illegal' because they were not accompanied by the required import documents and the contents of at least some of the packages have been mislabeled and declared as something other than seeds (e.g., toys or jewelry).

For more information, visit the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency website.