Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller urging Texans to take precaution when receiving unsolicited seed packets
Seed packets mailed to multiple states, including Texas, falsely labeled as jewelry
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller extending a warning from the USDA regarding suspicious unsolicited seed packets from China. Residents who get a package of seeds are advised to place all correspondence and seeds in a ziplock bag and place in a safe place. The USDA says do not throw them out or plant them. The seeds could contain harmful invasive species or be unsafe in other ways.
I am urging folks to take this matter seriously,” Commissioner Miller said. “An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. TDA has been working closely with USDA to analyze these unknown seeds so we can protect Texas residents.”
In a press release the Commissioner explained invasive species can destroy native crops and introduce disease to native plants and may even be dangerous for livestock.
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.
USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their State plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your State department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.
“At this time, we don’t 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,” said Carol Motloch, Texas PPQ Area Manager. “USDA is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.”
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