Kratom enters the market in ways that are unusual for food products, such as personal importation or misrepresentation of the product at the port of entry. FDA is unable to confirm that kratom producers and processors are following proper manufacturing processes or taking steps to prevent Salmonella contamination.
How is kratom produced?
Kratom plants grow best in warm and extremely humid environments. Therefore, many of these plants are currently grown in the jungles of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, reaching up to 115 feet in a clustered arrangement. See https://www.what-you-must-know.com/ for more information. These plants can be difficult to grow outdoors as they require a tropical climate, excess water and rich, fertile soil. Once harvested, either by dropping the leaves or picking them off the plant, the leaves can be ground and refined for personal consumption. Growers harvest and send the crushed leaves to distributors, who then use an industrial crusher to refine the leaves into powder.
Due to the lack of industry standards and the high rate of contamination seen in the 2018 outbreak, the FDA cannot guarantee that no kratom products are contaminated with salmonella. The sale of unapproved products with unsubstantiated claims violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Because of its easy availability and lower cost than other drugs, kratom is gaining popularity. Kratom is on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) list of drugs of concern and has been identified as a new drug of abuse by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Published case reports have associated kratom exposure with psychosis, seizures and death