Company recalls kratom after some products contaminated with salmonella
Sunstone Organics, based in Springfield, Ore., hadn't received reports of salmonella-related diagnoses related to the latest contamination warning as of March 1, according to a voluntary recall notice posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Sunstone Organics is recalling two plant lots: Sunstone Organics Maeng Da Kratom Lot 124A and Sunstone Organics White Vein Kratom Lot 119.
Kratom, a plant included in the coffee tree family, grows in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Thailand, health officials say.
Users can consume it through capsules, by chewing the leaves or brewing the leaves as tea, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Kratom isn't illegal and buyers can purchase it over the internet. Users report increased energy, sociability and alertness after using kratom, said the institute.
Signs of exposure to salmonella bacteria include abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea, health officials say. Symptoms can develop 12 to 72 hours after exposure.
While "most healthy people recover within a few days without specific treatment," salmonella infections can lead to life-threatening complications if they spread past patients' organs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
This year's recall comes after Oregon Health Authority officials investigated a case of salmonella bacteria in a Lane County resident who reported consuming kratom from Sunstone Organics.
The person's leftover kratom tested positive for salmonella, Health Authority spokesman Jonathan Modie said. "OHA had additional Sunstone Organics kratom tested; salmonella was again identified in the product."
The Health Authority informed Sunstone Organics about contaminated kratom on Feb. 13, 2019, according to owner Todd Holiday.
Holiday said his company has been working with the FDA on the recall.
Company representatives have informed the public of the recall by sending letters and posting on their Facebook page and website.
"We ask any customers who have these products to dispose of the product and return the packaging, with the lot number visible, to the retail location where it was purchased for replacement," company representatives said in the statement posted to the website.
"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and are implementing new safety protocols to prevent problems like this in the future," the statement said.
Kratom linked to 2018 salmonella outbreak
Kratom was blamed for a salmonella outbreak last year that saw at least 87 people across 35 states fall ill with salmonella, with 27 patients hospitalized, according to federal officials.
The Oregon Health Authority in March 2018 warned residents that kratom may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria and urged them against using it.
PDX Aromatics, a Portland wholesaler and retailer, also voluntarily recalled several Kratom products, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
By late March 2018, eight cases, including one in Marion County and another in Polk County, had been reported in Oregon, Marion County health officials said at the time.
A bill before the Oregon Legislature in 2017 would have ordered the Oregon Board of Pharmacy to study whether the plant should be scheduled as a controlled substance, though lawmakers didn't pass Senate Bill 518.