VENTURA, Calif. – Residents across the country have been receiving unsolicited and mysterious seeds shipped from China. The seeds are arriving in small mailer envelopes labeled with descriptions such as “stud earrings”, “jewelry”, “handmade flowers”, and “wire connectors”. Since it is illegal to ship seeds unless they meet the import requirements of the United States – including proper labeling with the name of the shipper, the type of seed, and certification where required – the small packets are sent mislabeled in order to pass through Customs undetected.
“There is concern that these seeds may be invasive species or can carry plant diseases,” said Ed Williams, Agricultural Commissioner. “We have already been contacted by a number of residents who have turned in the seeds they received to our office. We want to work with the community to ensure that none of these seeds present a problem for our native plants and agriculture and we thank everyone in advance for their cooperation.”
Any Ventura County residents who may have received packets such as these are asked to hold on to them and contact the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office at (805) 388-4222 in Camarillo, or (805) 933-2926 in Santa Paula. Residents should not dispose of the seeds in the trash due to the risk of the seeds sprouting in the landfill. Staff with the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office will arrange for the seeds to either be picked up or will provide drop-off instructions.
For community members who may have already planted the seeds they received, the Agricultural Commissioner is also asking that they contact the office. Arrangements can be made to remove the seeds that were planted.