A statewide crackdown in New York on little vials of alcohol-laced liquid ginseng being abused by some schoolchildren went national Monday as thousands of General Nutrition Centers throughout the country voluntarily removed the item from their shelves at the request of New York officials.
The recall and seizure within New York state of dozens of different products with names like “Dr. Chan’s Strawberry Cream High Potency Ginseng” and “Kung Fu Brand Panax Ginseng Extractum” began last week after children in the small upstate community of Penn Yan began dozing off in class at Penn Yan Central School. Teachers called in police, who confiscated the vials and sent them to state laboratories for analysis. The vials were found to contain 5 percent to 24 percent alcohol but were not labeled as containing alcohol.
State Agriculture and Markets Department inspectors found 15.7 percent alcohol in the GNC product in a Buffalo outlet and contacted the offices in Pittsburgh of General Nutrition Companies Inc., the largest chain of vitamin supplement stores in the nation.
GNC confirmed Monday that all 3,000 GNC outlets were being told to stop selling Ginseng Gold Panax Ginseng Extract.
The GNC product will be analyzed for alcohol content and “we’ll correct the label or the process,” said GNC spokesman Greg Miller.