Employees at the Ministry of Agriculture (Mapa) identified different types of microorganisms, such as fungi, mites, and bacteria, in seeds delivered to different addresses throughout Brazil from several Asian countries, mainly China.
The packages are sent by mail, as gifts for other purchases made over the internet or even randomly, without the recipient ordering anything from abroad.
Since August, when a first recipient from Rio Grande do Sul officially notified the authorities, the Mapa has received 258 packages from residents of almost all of Brazil, a number growing every day. Only the states of Maranhão and Amazonas do not yet have official records of receipt of packages.
Last week, the Chinese embassy ruled on the case and said it saw evidence of fraud in seed tags received and said it would assist with the investigation.
So far, technicians from the Federal Laboratory for Agricultural Defense in Goiânia (GO) have analyzed 39 samples from four Asian countries. In 25 of them, technicians found three different types of fungi. One of them contained a species of live mites, and in two, there was bacterium.
Among the species of seeds collected, four were identified as possible quarantine pests. That is, they may be weeds.
As the technicians have not completed the complete analysis of the seeds, it is still impossible to judge the risk of contact with the material.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon