Wisconsin-grown ginseng -- an exotic root prized by some for its medicinal value -- may not be as pure as health food store customers expect.
State agriculture officials have recently uncovered widespread use of illegal pesticides on ginseng in Wisconsin, where about 90 percent of the U.S. ginseng crop is grown. There are 1,500 ginseng growers in the state.
Last month, one grower in Wausau paid $35,000 in fines. Six other misdemeanor cases of illegal pesticide use are pending in Wisconsin, said Dave Fredrickson, director of investigations and compliance for the state Agriculture Department.