As if the FDA's prayers had come true, there is finally something to pin on kratom. Well, sort of. A distributor of kratom evidently somehow allowed large amounts of the herbal substance related to coffee to become contaminated with salmonella. The FDA has announced a mandatory recall as a result. So far the situation has affected multiple states with 132 people have become ill with the virus.
This, of course, is no different than when apples or Sarah Lee products have been unintentionally contaminated by e. coli or other microbes. The general consensus in the news is that this represents the dangerous nature of the plant kratom, but that's not at all the issue here. Also this month Bob's Red Mill brand amaranth flour had to be recalled due to Salmonella outbreak. There has been one death already from an outbreak this month of tainted chicken salad this week as well. Also this week, an outbreak of e. coli connected to Panera Bread. Oddly, I didn't see Time magazine, USA Today or Markets Insider covering these other outbreaks. This is not only odd but troubling considering how much more widespread Panera bread and chicken salad, for instance, are in comparison to kratom.
In the end, all this does is show that kratom, like any other product that is taken internally, is prone to contaminants. This is just another reason why sane regulations that would safeguard consumers and vendors alike is important. Try as they might, the FDA has yet to conclusively show that kratom is any more dangerous or addictive than coffee. Former head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Jack Henningfield called out the FDA for appealing to "junk science" methods in an attempt to portray kratom as dangerous. Molecular biologist Dr. Jane Babin and forensic toxicologist Dr. Karl Ebner likewise revealed that the claimed fatalities that were attributed to kratom were likely caused by pharmaceuticals also found in the toxicology screen but ignored by coroners.
Whether it's dog food or organic coconut (which also were prey to salmonella outbreaks in the last week) products to be taken internally should be safeguarded against contaminants. Rules already exist on the books and the kratom community needs to work to police itself so that this plant, a wonder to many who have found it to improve their quality of life, can remain available for those who prefer an alternative to medications for chronic pain, anxiety, depression and a number of other conditions that research suggests kratom is beneficial for.
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