Today, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is urging Texans to take extreme precaution when receiving unsolicited seed packets from China. These packets have been mailed to multiple states, including Texas, falsely labeled as jewelry. Residents are advised not to plant the seeds as they could contain harmful invasive species or be otherwise unsafe.
“I am urging folks to take this matter seriously,” Commissioner Miller said. “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.”
If you receive a foreign package containing seeds do not open it or plant the contents. Keep contents contained in their original sealed package.
An invasive species is an organism that is not native to a particular region. The introduction of this “alien species” can cause economic or environmental harm. In agriculture, an invasive species can destroy native crops, introduce disease to native plants and may be dangerous for livestock.
“There are reports of people in Texas receiving unsolicited packages, labeled as jewelry or other items, containing seeds from China,” said Dale Rankin, Agriculture & Natural Resource, Atascosa County Agent. “Some of you may have seen this come across the news and our Facebook but I wanted to make sure that as many people as possible see this information, in case this happens locally. All incidences should be reported to the USDA-APHIS.”
Rankin asks that you use the following contact information. It has been reported that the phones are very busy and email is preferred.
Carol Motloch (USDAAPHIS PPQ), State Operations Coordinator
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or give her a call at 512- 916-5241.
Email should include client contact information: email and phone number. Also, a description of package information (a photo of the label and material) would help.
If you have questions locally, please feel free to contact Dale Rankin, Agriculture & Natural Resource, Atascosa County Agent, 830-569-0034.