Texas Ag Commissioner warns of unsolicited seed packets from China

Seeds could be part of a 'brushing scam,' USDA says

Texas Ag Commissioner warns of unsolicited seed packets from China
The Texas Department of Agriculture and the USDA are investigating packages of unsolicited seeds from China. (Source: US Dept. of Agriculture)

AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas Department of Agriculture is warning Texas residents against planting seeds mailed in unsolicited packets from China.

The packets have been mailed to multiple U.S. states, including Texas, and are falsely labeled as jewelry, a news release stated.

Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller’s office warned the seeds could be unsafe or contain a harmful invasive species.

“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.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is collecting seed packages and testing their contents.

“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,” a USDA news release stated.

Anyone receiving a foreign package containing seeds is asked not to open the packet or plant the contents.

The public can report unsolicited seed packages to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov or call 800-877-3835.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.

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