State agriculture department warns residents of unsolicited seeds from China

The warning was issued as some New Jerseyans received the packages.

Photograph of packages and seeds mailed in the U.S. (Special to The Sun/ New Jersey Department of Agriculture).

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has received reports of individuals receiving unsolicited seeds through the mail from China. Unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock. Sometimes the seeds are sent in packages stating that the contents are jewelry.

Here’s what to do if you receive unsolicited seeds from another country: Do not plant the seeds and if they are in sealed packaging do not open the sealed package. Take a photo of the package and seeds and send the photos to USDA Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance at SITC.Mail@APHIS.USDA.gov.

Maintain the seeds and packaging and send them to the USDA Office located at:

USDA APHIS PPQ, Attention: Gregory Soto, 1500 Lower Road, Linden, NJ 07036.

Please write down your name, address, phone number and email address on a piece of paper and insert it in your package.

If you have already planted or discarded seeds please send an email to Gregory.T.Soto@USDA.gov.

If individuals are aware of the potential smuggling of prohibited exotic fruits, vegetables or meat products into or through the U.S., they can help APHIS by contacting the confidential Anti-Smuggling Hotline number at (800) 877-3835 or by sending an email to SITC.Mail@APHIS.USDA.gov. USDA will make every attempt to protect the confidentiality of any information sources during an investigation within the extent of the law.