Unsolicited seed from China mailed to residents in at least one Arizona town.
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
By: Yuma ESD Staff
Like in other parts of the country, several Douglas, AZ residents reported to the police department in that town that they received unsolicited packages from China containing unknown-type seeds.
Douglas PD is recommending the packages be sealed and transferred to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA).
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection and departments of agriculture in all states including the AZDA, to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.
USDA's Director of external and intergovernmental affairs, Jordan Bonfitto said, “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.”
AZDA’s Associate Director for the Environmental Services Division, Jack Peterson said, “Folks should not just throw them out as there is potential to cause the environment harm by the introduction of an invasive weed. They can get them to us or they need to render them unable to germinate.”
Seeds can be ruined once they reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or more, for over 30 minutes. AZDA is not providing a recommended method to do this. Instead, AD Peterson is asking you turn them over to the Arizona Department of Agriculture. You should seal them in a plastic bag (include the package) and deliver them to the following locations (via US Mail or in person):
AZDA Plant Services Division – Phoenix
1688 W. Adams Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
AZDA Plant Services – Yuma
1931 S. Arizona Avenue
Yuma, AZ 85364
AZDA Plant Services - Tucson
400 W. Congress Street #124 Tucson, AZ 85701 520-628-6314
For more information, please contact the Plant Services Division at AZDA Headquarters by calling, 602-542-4373. You can also learn more from USDA by visiting: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/sa_sitc.