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FDA Import “Alert” Misleads Kratom Community

A recent alert from the FDA (Import Alert 54-15) appears to give the agency broad oversight (some say overreach) to seize shipments of kratom. Specifically, the controversial language in the alert provides the following guidance, “Districts may detain, without physical examination, the specified products from the firms identified in the RED LIST of this alert… the firms listed on the RED LIST of this Import Alert have been found to contain kratom.”

The phrasing here appears to give FDA Districts the ability to randomly seize shipments of kratom, a practice that violates the very principles of free commerce. However, given the ongoing confusion about the classification of kratom as a controlled substance, an herbal supplement or something else entirely, it’s unclear exactly what this alert means for producers, importers, resellers, and individual purchasers.

A Short History of the FDA vs. Kratom

If you’re not already familiar with the controversial regulation efforts regarding kratom, you can learn more by checking out our Expert Research article or the excellent information provided by the American Kratom Association. In short, there were efforts to ban kratom and list it as a controlled substance as far back as 2016. Public outcry, combined with letters from the scientific community, foiled that plan. The backlash was so severe that officials formally withdrew the request to classify kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance two years later.

In response to the recent Import Alert, Pain News Network published this article with important insights about the Alert:

“A lobbyist for the American Kratom Association, an association of kratom vendors and consumers, said the updated alert is part of the FDA’s ‘disinformation campaign’ against kratom.

‘The FDA routinely uses the import alerts in discussions with various stakeholders to highlight their claims that kratom is not “legally marketed” in the United States, and by adding a recent date by way of an update makes it appear to be a recent action,’ said Mac Haddow. ‘The import alert is an abuse of that authority that is supposed to apply to contaminated and adulterated products.’

‘In fact, the objections listed in the import alerts issued by the FDA technically only apply to importers who are subsequently making illegal therapeutic claims or as a dietary supplement on marketing materials. A bulk kratom importer is not subject to FDA’s authority. Kratom processors who make no claims and sell kratom as a food are not subject to any pre-market approval by the FDA.’”

Breaking Down the Controversy

The American Kratom Association’s Mac Haddow, quoted above, provided quite a bit of information in a few short sentences, and we think he made some excellent points. Here, we’re going to break down some of what he said to clear up just what exactly is going on with this alert and explain why it doesn’t really have the impact you’d expect. Here’s what we’ve learned:

“The FDA’s Disinformation Campaign”. Anyone familiar with our blog knows that we acknowledge freely that there’s more research to be done. The FDA seems to have decided that kratom is a danger and should be guilty until proven innocent by research.

“Adding a recent date… appears to make it a recent action”. The first Import Alert for kratom was issued in 2012 and established a RED LIST (see above) of importers/suppliers that had knowingly mislabeled or misrepresented kratom. This most recent Alert updated the RED LIST but made no change to the policy’s guidance.

“Kratom processors who make no claims and sell kratom as a food are not subject to any pre-market approval by the FDA”. The only reason that the Food & Drug Administration oversees kratom at all is because it’s technically considered a FOOD PRODUCT. If kratom importers and manufacturers follow best practices, the only oversight the FDA can provide is to monitor kratom for dangerous contaminants.

TL;DR? Here’s What this Alert Means for You

Uh, absolutely nothing. Don’t worry, keep calm, kratom on. At Pop Kratom, we do the research so you don’t have to. Every brand that we sell is regularly tested to ensure consistency and purity, and all products are manufacturer-guaranteed to be free from harmful contaminants. In fact, almost everything we sell is vegan or vegetarian and in some cases is even certified organic. We’ve done our best to make buying kratom online worry-free and as easy as possible.

There’s so much going on with kratom that it’s hard to keep track of all the information. We’re doing our best to clear up the misconceptions and misinformation surrounding the controversial plant. For updates on all things kratom, create your account today! You’ll rack up rewards and get exclusive access to member discounts and new products; best of all? You’ll be able to buy kratom quickly and easily!

If you know what you want (or just want to browse) head over to the shop– we have kratom gummieskratom shotskratom powders and kratom capsules from some of the most popular brands on the market. We’re always here to help if you ever have any questions– and remember, we ship from the US (so you get your order quickly) and accept all major credit cards for your convenience!

Quick Shout Out To PNN

The Pain News Network is an independent, non-profit news service that works to raise awareness about chronic pain and, in their own words, “…to connect and educate pain sufferers, caregivers, healthcare providers and the public about the pain experience.” The work they do is important, and we consider them a vital ally (along with the American Kratom Association) in the fight to allow safe access to kratom in the United States.

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