Did Jack buy too many beans or is he trying to get us all to climb up the beanstalk?

All over North America, people have been finding a mysterious package arriving in their mailboxes from Asia. Inside is a small packet of seeds, and that’s it—no instructions, no description, just…seeds. But if you’re one of the lucky recipients, don’t throw them away—the government would like to investigate first.

Canada was the first to make a statement regarding the phenomenon. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency released a statement last week that read “unauthorized seeds could be the seeds of invasive plants, or carry plant pests, which can be harmful when introduced into Canada,” and those who happen to find seeds in the mail should “keep the entire package, including the mailing label, and contact regional offices of the relevant government agency, where an inspector will give further instructions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a similar statement, which also explained that the seeds are most likely coming from China. An article from Vice explains that the U.S. feels it may be linked to something called a “brushing scam,” where sellers send out unsolicited items to then use the information to post fake customer reviews online to boost sales.

Someone should tell them that this isn’t the best marketing technique.

Earlier this week, there were reports that this same thing was even starting to happen in other parts of Asia. A post from a Taiwanese woman on Facebook explained that she received the package of seeds along with a small package of potting soil, reporting it to the government immediately.

At least this time they included the soil. Progress.

Like every other phenomenon in the world this year, this too shall pass. But for now, if you receive seeds in the mail that you didn’t order, call the government immediately. We don’t want another global crisis on our hands.

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