FDA warns about possible contaminated herbal supplement parents may need to worry about

DEA to ban herb kratom, currently legal in Utah (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) -- A popular herbal supplement used for pain relief, drug addiction, and energy is under fire across the country and now right here in Utah.

It’s called Kratom, and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is warning people not to take it - and asking parents to keep watchful of their kids' consumption.

“Best advice we can give is don’t use the product you are taking a chance,” said Rick Beckstrand the manufacture food program manager with the department of agriculture and food. “We are really not trying to regulate Kratom we’re trying to make sure that Utah citizens aren’t trying to buy a product that is contaminated.”

Kratom is an herbal supplement made from an southeastern Asian leaf that can be taken in powder or capsule form. It is legal in Utah and can be purchased over the counter in a variety of places including smoke shops in Salt Lake City.

“It’s very popular,” said Cody Thompson an employee at one Salt Lake smoke shop. “We got a lot of health buffs who need the energy, we got a lot of people coming off of pain killers and need options that aren’t going to make them sick or addictive and that’s why they go to these.”

But according to the FDA the product can be potentially dangerous, saying users run the risks of addiction, abuse, and salmonella poisoning. The FDA reports many have died from it. That’s why several states have banned it.

Beckstrand says in Utah they are investigating three salmonella cases due to Kratom, and he says for every case reported there are 10 times more case out there that have not been reported.

As a result the department of agriculture and food have recalled and confiscated thousands of bottles of Kratom and powder blocks that could be contaminated. “When we’ve got a product that is contaminated and people are getting sick and it’s for human consumption we have to take some action,” said Beckstrand.

But Patrick Rezac who runs One Voice Recovery for addicts doesn’t agree that Kratom is dangerous. He says many of his clients use it and they are having great success with it.

“If people are addicted to pain medication whether it’s legally prescribed or not, if they are looking for a road off of that I would definitely encourage them to try Kratom definitely without a doubt,” said Rezac. “I think Kratom is getting a bad rap. I think our warning for Kratom is absurd.”

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off