Bomb squad officers were called out and hospitals put on standby after a package posted from BBC Northern Ireland was deemed suspicious at a sorting office near MediaCity.
The parcel actually contained a home-made spy camera recording device inside a plastic drinks bottle for use in BBC Panorama investigations.
However, when X-rayed it looked like a bomb and a terror scare was sparked at the offices of Swiss Post in Salford shortly after 9am on Wednesday.
Police, bomb disposal, fire and the ambulance service were put on alert.
It was thought initially the package had been sent as an exercise to test security procedures at the BBC HQ.
Tony Lloyd, the police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester, has called on BBC bosses to investigate and promised to send them the bill for the false alert.