ISSUE: FDA issued a mandatory recall order for all food products containing powdered kratom manufactured, processed, packed, or held by Triangle Pharmanaturals LLC, after several were found to contain salmonella. The agency took this action after the company failed to cooperate with the FDA’s request to conduct a voluntary recall.
Two samples of kratom products manufactured by Triangle Pharmanaturals of Las Vegas, Nevada, sold through the retail location Torched Illusions in Tigard, Oregon and collected by the Oregon Public Health Division, tested positive for salmonella, as did four additional samples of various types of kratom product associated with the firm collected by the FDA. Adding to the concerns, in the course of investigating a multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections linked to kratom products in conjunction with local officials, FDA investigators were denied access to the company’s records relating to potentially affected products and Triangle employees refused attempts to discuss the agency’s findings.
All salmonella bacteria can cause the foodborne illness salmonellosis, although the strains found in Triangle Pharmanaturals’ products are not currently linked to the outbreak. Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment. However, in the current salmonellosis outbreak associated with kratom products, unusually high rates of individuals have been hospitalized for their illness.
The FDA is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue to investigate the ongoing outbreak.
BACKGROUND: Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as kratom, is a plant that grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Importantly, the FDA advises consumers to avoid kratom or its psychoactive compounds, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, in any form and from any manufacturer. The agency also has received concerning reports about the safety of kratom, including deaths associated with its use. There is strong evidence that kratom affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine and appears to have properties that expose people who consume kratom to the risks of addiction, abuse and dependence. The agency also remains concerned about the use of kratom as an alternative to FDA-approved pain medications or to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, as neither kratom nor its compounds have been proven safe and effective for any use and should not be used to treat any medical conditions.
RECOMMENDATION: If consumers have one or more of these products in their homes, they should discard them immediately. As a precaution, kratom no longer stored in its original packaging should be discarded and the containers used to store it should be thoroughly washed and sanitized. In order to prevent cross-contamination, consumers should wash their hands, work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after contact with these products, and not prepare any food in the area at the same time.