The organization ConsumerLab in the U.S. conducts independent testing of supplements sold in that country. The purpose of the testing is to find out if the ingredients listed on the label match those found in the capsules, tablets or liquids that accompany the label. The company produces reports which are available on its website at www.consumerlab.com.
In a recent study, ConsumerLab tested 22 brands of ginseng supplements sold in the U.S. and found that only nine passed its review. Unfortunately, the company only lists the brands that pass its testing. They found that eight of 12 products that were labelled to contain "Korean ginseng" were contaminated with pesticides (hexachlorobenzene and/or quintozene). These compounds may damage the liver and kidneys and have the potential to cause cancer in people. In some cases the level of contamination by pesticides was 20 times higher than allowed under U.S. and European guidelines. For further details about the review of ginseng supplements readers can visit www.consumerlab.com/results/ginseng.asp. General safety information about ginseng is also available from the site. These results on contamination point to the need for similar research on products available in Canada.
- Anonymous. Pesticide contamination found in many ginseng supplements tested by consumerlab.com: only 9 of 22 products pass product review published online today. Press release 11 July, 2001.