Mystery seeds from China

The San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner’s office has received reports from numerous county residents who have received unsolicited envelopes of assorted plant seed in the mail from China. Many detrimental pathogens and invasive species can be transmitted into the environment and local agriculture by contaminated seed shipments, and it is unclear at this time why these packages are being sent. The County Agricultural Commissioner’s office is working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the USDA to investigate these shipments.

In the meantime, we are instructing residents not to open any unsolicited seed packets they receive, and to contact us for further instructions. In order to prevent potential dispersal of invasive species and/or quarantine pests, seed packets should not be opened, shipped, planted or disposed of by residents. Please retain any envelopes or labels that came with the seed packets, as they may prove useful in the investigation.

Please contact the San Mateo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures at (650) 363-4700 or at smateoag@smcgov.org if you are in possession of any of these seed packets, or have any questions.