USDA Revising Ginseng Standards

September 9, 2011

Changes being considered include adding tolerance levels, reclassifying sizes, removing table values, and amending definitions.

According to a notice in the Federal Register, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is in the process of revising standards and creating new grades for cultivated ginseng in the United States. AMS is now accepting comments on the proposed changes, with a comment deadline of September 29, 2011.

Changes being considered include adding tolerance levels, reclassifying sizes, removing table values, and amending definitions. According to AMS:

The proposal would remove the current grades and replace them with seven new grades: U.S. No. 1 through U.S. No. 7, including tolerances for each grade. Further, the following size classifications would be created: Premium, Select, and Standard. In addition, the “values” would be removed from the size table in § .1330.

Other revisions would include redefining “Wrinkle” as “Texture,” removing “similar varietal characteristics,” adding a definition for “Length,” and rewriting most of the definitions. The grade determination section would also be amended to reflect new calculations without “values.” Further, an illustrated ginseng root would be included at the end of the standards.

AMS says that the revisions were sparked by a request received in 2009 from the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin to update standards “to reflect current market values.”