The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has become aware of a number of reports regarding “mysterious and unsolicited seeds from China.”

These seed packages are often labeled as jewelry, being shipped to homeowners throughout the U.S., including Santa Barbara County. CDFA is communicating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine any necessary actions for shipments received in California.

In the meantime, the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office (SBCAC) is instructing residents not to open, plant, or dispose of any unsolicited seed packets received, but to contact their nearest SBCAC office.

“Invasive species can devastate the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects, severely damage crops, and poison livestock,” said Cathy Fisher, Santa Barbara County Agricultural commissioner. “Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations,”

Unopened seed packets should be held by the resident and the resident should contact the SBCAC office for pick-up, or drop-off instructions. Those who might have planted the seeds should contact the SBCAC for additional direction.

The Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office may be contacted at:

Santa Barbara — 805-681-5600, 263 Camino del Remedio, Santa Barbara, 93110
Santa Maria — 805-934-6200, 624 W. Foster Road, Ste. E, Santa Maria 93455
Buellton — 805-688-5331, 185 W. Hwy. 246, Ste. 101, Buellton 93427
Carpinteria — 805-681-5600, 1180 Eugenia Pl, Ste. 206, Carpinteria 93013