In an unprecedented forced recall of a food item, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking action against dietary supplement company Triangle Pharmanaturals. On Tuesday, the FDA ordered Triangle to take back its powdered kratom products for possible salmonella contamination.
According to the Washington Post, the FDA first asked Triangle to recall their kratom products voluntarily, but the company refused. Exercising its right to regulate dietary supplements as foods as outlined in the 2011 Food Safety and Modernization Act, the agency initiated a mandatory recall, essentially forcing Triangle to comply.
“This action is based on the imminent health risk posed by the contamination of this product with salmonella, and the refusal of this company to voluntarily act to protect its customers and issue a recall, despite our repeated requests and actions,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, according to the Washington Post report.
Just before the FDA mandated the kratom recall, Oregon state health collected and tested two samples of the dietary supplement manufactured and distributed by Triangle. The test results revealed the kratom was contaminated with salmonella, a bacteria that causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. The FDA then collected four additional samples, which also tested positive.
The FDA kratom recall is yet another mark against the already controversial supplement. A separate kratom salmonella contamination case is currently being investigated by the agency after 87 people got sick from an infection last month, forcing the recall of dozens of products.
The war on kratom started even before the recent salmonella contamination discoveries. In a statement from the FDA updated in February, the agency warned consumers about the plant’s potential health risks.
“[The] FDA is concerned that kratom, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence.”
Over the past two years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has threatened to ban kratom by putting it on the list of illegal substances alongside drugs like heroin and marijuana. However, the agency has yet to act, as public support for the plant keeps pushing the issue to the back burner.
Advocates for the supplement say the risks are being blown out of proportion and the government is running an aggressive campaign to unnecessarily ban the plant nationwide. They proclaim kratom is very effective at treating pain, anxiety, and opioid addiction, contending the plant is safer and better than traditional prescription painkillers. Supporters, such as the American Kratom Association, continue to fight to keep the substance legal and available.
The Triangle Pharmanaturals products recalled by the FDA include Raw Form Organics Maeng Da Kratom Emerald Green, Raw Form Organics Maeng Da Kratom Ivory White, and Raw Form Organics Maeng Da Kratom Ruby Red. The company has yet to issue an official statement regarding the recall.