NEW JERSEY — The New Jersey Department of Agriculture offered advice 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 NJDA said in a press release. “Sometimes the seeds are sent in packages stating that the contents are jewelry.”

Here’s what the department asks you to do if you receive unsolicited seeds from another country:

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  1. DO NOT plant the seeds and if they are in sealed packaging do not open the sealed package.
  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 USDA Office located at: USDA APHIS PPQ, Attention: Gregory Soto, 1500 Lower Road, Linden, NJ 07036.

“Please write down your name, address, phone number and email address on a piece of paper and insert it in your package,” the press release said. “If you have already planted or discarded seeds please send an email to 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 by sending an email to SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov, the NJDA said.

“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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