Report Unsolicited Seeds to County Ag Department

Author: UC Integrated Pest Management Program

Have you had unexpected seeds show up in the mail? Unknown seeds could be invasive plants, contain invasive insects, or have plant disease causing agents. Here's what the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has to say about it. APHIS Stakeholder Announcement July 28, 2020 (Language from their website)

USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicited Seeds

USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.

At this time, [USDA does not] have any evidence indicating this is something other than a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.

USDA is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds. Visit the APHIS' website to learn more about USDA's efforts to stop agricultural smuggling and promote trade compliance.

What to do with the Seeds

Do NOT plant or dispose of these seeds!

Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label.

In Sonoma County

Anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds can drop the seeds and packaging off in the Drop Box at the Agriculture Department, 133 Aviation Blvd, Santa Rosa CA 95403 or contact the department:

  • 707-565-2371

Other Counties

Contact your County Agriculture Commissioners office. 

Best Practices: do not plant seeds from unknown origins

By IPM Program
By Karen Giovannini
Contributor - Agriculture Ombudsman

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