Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

CDFA statement on unsolicited seeds from China

Recently the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has become aware of a number of reports regarding unsolicited seeds from China being received by homeowners throughout the US. CDFA is communicating with the USDA to determine any necessary actions for shipments received in California. 

In the meantime, CDFA is instructing residents not to open any unsolicited seed packets received and to contact their local county agricultural commissioner’s office. Seed packets should not be opened, shipped, or disposed of by residents in order to prevent potential dispersal of invasive species and/or quarantine pests. Unopened seed packets should be held by the resident or county official until further instructions are provided. 

From the USDA: “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. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents and determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.”


El Departamento de Alimentos y Agricultura de California emite una alerta sobre el envio de semillas de China a los Estados Unidos 

Recientemente, el Departamento de Alimentos y Agricultura de California (CDFA) fue alertado por parte de una serie de informes sobre semillas no solicitadas de China que están siendo recibidas por propietarios de viviendas en todo Estados Unidos. CDFA se está comunicando con el Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos (USDA) para determinar las medidas necesarias de los envíos recibidos en California.  

Mientras tanto, CDFA está instruyendo a los residentes que no abran ningún paquete de semillas no solicitadas que hayan sido recibidas y que se pongan en contacto con la Oficina del Comisionado Agrícola del condado local. Los paquetes de semillas no deben ser abiertos, enviados o tirados a la basura o dispersados por los residentes — con el fin de evitar la posible dispersión de especies invasoras y/o plagas que puedan resultar en una cuarentena. Los paquetes de semillas sin abrir deben ser retenidos por el residente o el funcionario del condado hasta que se proporcionen más instrucciones.  

Del USDA: “En este momento, no tenemos ninguna evidencia que indique que esto es algo más que una estafa, donde las personas reciben artículos no solicitados de un vendedor que luego publica opiniones falsas de clientes para aumentar las ventas. El USDA actualmente está recolectando paquetes de semillas de los destinatarios y probará su contenido y determinará si contienen algo que pueda poner en riesgo la agricultura o tener un impacto negativo en el medio ambiente de los Estados Unidos.” 

Comunicado de prensa de USDA (inglés): 

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28 Responses to CDFA statement on unsolicited seeds from China

  1. Kristen Hyland says:

    I have received 2 of these packets. I ordered seeds from Amazon, and I received these packages, labeled as small jewelery from Amazon. Please advise how to dispose of them.

    • Office of Public Affairs says:

      Please contact your local agricultural commissioner’s office.

      • Kristen Hyland says:

        how do I find that? I’m in Orange County, CA

      • says:

        Dear Office of Public Affairs,
        I, too, received a packet of seeds from China and have saved the packaging and contents. I had ordered seeds from Amazon a few months ago but was suspicious of these agricultural materials being sent from overseas. I will be calling the phone number ending in 0426 posted on LA County ACWM FB page tomorrow but, according to the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioners Office, located at, their office is closed due to COVID-19. That would be my local agricultural commissioner’s office. I won’t plant them or dispose of them until I have proper guidelines from some CA ACWM office.

    • Recynd says:

      That’s just what happened to me, too. Call Amazon for your money back, and something for your inconvenience. I think a single supplier is using multiple seller names on Amazon. So shady.

      • Kristen Hyland says:

        I did already, so no problem there. these seeds took forever to arrive after my order was placed. I’m just curious if Amazon ‘s ability to sell these seeds from sellers in China will be regulated going forward

  2. Lisa says:

    Last week I received a package of seeds from China. I did not place an order for anything like this. The package came in a small envelope labeled “ring”. I thought it was odd.. but threw away the packaging and kept the seeds. It wasn’t until I saw news stories about this that I made this connection!

  3. Marian Krezanoski says:

    I received seeds today. I will contact my local agricultural commissioner. Some commenters under some video reports are very scared by this and think it is more than just a brush scam. I also had ordered seeds from Amazon. I am quite worried about this.

  4. Floyd Parma says:

    I received 8 packets over 3 weeks. I gave 4 packets to Jeremy Wagner, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner for the County of San Mateo Agriculture/Weights & Measures. I also tested them, while in the packets, with my geiger counter and it showed 25 CPM with .1 reading. It is partially radioactive and I told Mr. Wagner about that. He will have further testing done.

    • Wow, thanks for taking the time to check the seeds for a threat like that. Isn’t 25 CPM considered relatively normal, though?

      Also, what kind of seeds did you get, could you tell? I’ve seen pictures of citrus seeds around the internet.

      • Recynd says:

        I’m not the person you were responding to, but I received several packages of “mystery seeds” from China myself, after having ordered a bunch of seeds from multiple sellers off Amazon when the Pandemic started.

        I got what appear to be lettuce/romaine, giant garlic, and tomato seeds…but I’m not planting them to find out.

  5. maria macias says:

    I also order them from the web site they were free so I order alot of multiple colors of flowers and plants, therefore the shipping I had to pay, I been getting them different times but different kind of seeds. I planted some of them I still have alot and with their packages as well what should i do now?

  6. Floyd Parma says:

    Have the Agriculture Dept. of your county pick them up. They could cause harm. I had 8 packets and they were radioactive and I turned them over to the County per California State Agriculture Dept. They will have them tested. FP

    • Michelle Baty says:

      What? Radioactive? Shit. I received seeds too in a package from China labeled jewelry. I don’t have the packaging anymore but still have the unopened seeds!

  7. Art Gregoire says:

    I have recieved packages of these seeds as described above I have called your office and I have emailed you and not recieved a response back yet I meet with the local news later today

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  10. Ann R Lane says:

    what do I do with the seeds? I opened the outside packaging, which I still have, but have not opened the seed packaging itself. How now?

  11. Floyd says:

    Yes, it was normal and the seeds were dill, sqash and others. He took them for testing

  12. Zena says:

    I have received these seeds and thought they were the seeds I have ordered from Amazon so I planted them then when I received another package from China and realized the ones I ordered from amazon were not delivered yet and read this all other social media and the news so I realized the seeds that I plated in my garden are from China and now I don’t know what to do or how I can get rid of them nothing has grown yet. Please let me know how I can get rid of them because I’m afraid that they might be harming and dangerous.

  13. Betty Jones says:

    I didn’t get seeds I received face masks from cangshan china that I didn’t order

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