NEW JERSEY — The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDOA) offered advice on Wednesday after it got reports of individuals receiving unsolicited seeds through the mail from China.

“Unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants or be harmful to livestock,” the NJDOA said in a public statement. “Sometimes the seeds are sent in packages stating that the contents are jewelry.”

The department urges the following for anyone who receives unsolicited seeds from another country:

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  1. DO NOT plant the seeds, and DO NOT open any sealed packaging.
  2. Take a photo of the package and seeds and send the photos to USDA Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance at SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.
  3. Maintain the seeds and packaging and send to the following address along with your name, address, phone number and Email address on a piece of paper:
    USDA APHIS PPQ, Attention: Gregory Soto
    1500 Lower Road, Linden, NJ 07036.

Anyone who receives unsolicited seeds should write down their name, address, phone number and Email address on a piece of paper and insert it into the package.

Anyone who has already planted or discarded seeds should contact Gregory.t.soto@usda.gov.

Anyone who is are aware of the potential smuggling of prohibited exotic fruits, vegetables or meat products into or through the USA can help APHIS by contacting the confidential Anti-Smuggling Hotline number at 800-877-3835 or SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.

“USDA will make every attempt to protect the confidentiality of any information sources during an investigation within the extent of the law,” the NJDA said.

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