Receive assorted seeds in the mail from China? Don't open them

Receive seeds in the mail from China? Don’t plant them

in Community/Featured/Headline

San Mateo County is warning residents who receive unsolicited envelopes of assorted plant seed in the mail from China not to plant them or even open the packets, saying they could have a detrimental impact to the environment, according to the San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner’s office.

“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,” county officials said.

The Agricultural Commissioner’s office has received reports from numerous residents in the county who have received seeds in the mail from China. CBS News reports that residents in all 50 states have reported receiving the mysterious seeds.

The commissioner’s office is working with the state Department of Food and Agriculture and the USDA to investigate the shipments.

Residents are instructed not to open any unsolicited seed packets they receive and to contact the San Mateo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures at (650) 363-4700 or at

“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,” County officials said. “Please retain any envelopes or labels that came with the seed packets, as they may prove useful in the investigation.”

Photo courtesy of San Mateo County