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Widespread salmonella outbreak linked to kratom supplements

Published Mar 16th, 2018 1:56PM EDT
salmonella outbreak
Image: Kraken Kratom

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It was just last week that a multi-state salmonella outbreak was traced to tainted chicken salad, resulting in hundreds of sick consumers and a widespread recall. Now, yet another completely separate salmonella outbreak has caught the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and this time it’s been linked to something even more obscure: kratom, a powdered plant product sold online for both medical and recreational purposes.

The product has been traced back to a handful of online sources, several of which have initiated recalls of the product in cooperation with the FDA. The organization says the products were sold between January 18th and February 18th of 2018, and thus far nearly 100 documented cases of salmonella have been linked to the plant substance.

“Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 21, 2017 to February 24, 2018,” the CDC report states. “Ill people range in age from 6 to 67 years, with a median age of 39. Fifty-five percent of ill people are male. Of 69 people with available information, 27 (39%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.”

Kratom powder is taken as a supplement by some due to its stimulant properties. Some believe it could serve as a tool for those coping with opioid withdrawal, but its effectiveness has been called into question by a number of scientific bodies. The United States banned packaging and distribution of the substance under the guise of a dietary supplement, and a recent crackdown saw the dismantling of a nationwide distributor of kratom based out of Missouri. Nevertheless, it can still be purchased online in bulk.

Online sellers of the substance, which include Kraken Kratom, Phytoextractum, and Soul Speciosa, are participating in the recall and halting all shipments of the potentially contaminated product until the investigation into the source of the salmonella can be determined. Thus far, the contamination has been traced back to a company called PDX Aromatics which is a kratom distributor.

“PDX Aromatics has identified a supplier in our supply chain as the source of Salmonella,” the company notes in its recall bulletin. “The company has removed that supplier from our supply chain and all associated products from our facility. We have ceased distribution of products in order to perform a facility audit and have initiated a voluntary recall. Working in cooperation with the FDA, the company will destroy all recalled product upon return.”

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