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More On The ‘Mystery’ Seed Packets Coming To Local Mailboxes

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Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County officials have directions for residents who recently received unsolicited seed packets in the mail.

As reported here, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has become aware of a number of reports regarding “mysterious and unsolicited seeds from China,” and Calaveras Environmental Health officials provided county residents with directions of what to and what not to do with them.

On Thursday, Tuolumne officials weighed in. They say the packets, sometimes labeled as jewelry, are now arriving in the county. Currently, they say the CDFA is communicating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine any necessary actions for shipments received in California, but in the meantime, the County Department of Agriculture (TCDA) is instructing residents not to open, plant, or dispose of any unsolicited seed packets received, but to contact their office.

They add that invasive species can devastate the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects, severely damage crops, and poison livestock. Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.

Residents should for the time being retain their unopened seed packets and call TCDA. If you did plant seeds, please still contact the office for additional direction. The number is 209 533- 5691.

USDA officials are reporting that as of Thursday, they do not have any evidence indicating the seed packet mailings are anything other than a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. The USDA is currently collecting seed packages for testing to determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.