Rampant fake ginseng
Through an online ginseng retailer on Facebook, Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper reporters have made contact with a former sales collaborator of the site, who quit the job after discovering that the store was selling fake Ngoc Linh ginseng in the central province of Quang Nam. This retailer have been deceiving their customers and employees with Panax pseudoginseng (a species of ginseng commonly grown in China) which they claim to be the high quality and properly accredited Ngoc Linh ginseng, said the anonymous interviewee.
Mr. Trinh Minh Quy, Director of Ngoc Linh Ginseng Conservation Center, expressed his concern that the large amount of fake ginseng circulating the market could very badly affect Ngoc Linh ginseng’s reputation. He has received tons of photos from buyers asking him to verify the ginseng roots they have purchased, most of which turned out to be Chinese pseudoginseng, which look almost identical to Ngoc Linh ginseng. “You must feel the ginseng and see them with your own eyes to determine its authenticity”, Mr. Quy added.
Relentless brand name protection efforts
At Nam Tra My monthly ginseng fair, authentication is the top priority, declared Mr. Ho Quang Buu, Chairman of Nam Tra My District People’s Committee. The fair’s inspection team and commune-level agencies work intently through a two-step verification process to make sure no fake ginseng makes it in or out of the fair.
Additionally, Nam Tra My district requests all businesses trading Ngoc Linh ginseng to guarantee their products’ legitimacy in written documents. Any individual or party found to be selling fake ginseng would immediately be banned from the fair and reported to higher authorities, stated Mr. Buu. Police have in fact comdemned two deliberate attempts to sell Chinese ginseng roots at the fair.
Businesses must also be on high alert when trading with local ginseng dealers to avoid trouble from the authorities, said Mrs. Nguyen Thi Huynh, Director of Huynh Sam Company Limited. A large batch of authenticate Ngoc Linh ginseng might include a couple of fake roots, but that much would be enough for a business to be condemned, she added. Mrs. Huynh previously reported a woman who tried selling fake Ngoc Linh ginseng to her company, leading to the confiscation of 13.2kg Panax pseudoginseng roots and 6.1kg of stems.
Mr. Trinh Minh Quy recommends traders to check each root carefully to ensure no fake ginseng root is mixed into a batch. Ngoc Linh ginseng has taproot instead of fibrous root like Chinese ginseng. Cutting up the root would be a surefire way to verify it; Ngoc Linh ginseng would be golden in color, with round grain patterns, and no amount of pus leaking out.