Mich. officials warn against consuming kratom

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Michigan Health Department officials Friday are warning the public to not consume kratom, a plant used as an opioid substitute, because it may be contaminated with salmonella.

“We are advising Michigan residents not to consume any products containing kratom,” Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the Michgian Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. “If you have used kratom and subsequently develop symptoms, please consult your medical provider.

"In addition, we urge people to consult their health care provider before taking any supplement, especially if they have weakened immune systems, are pregnant, younger than 5 years old or are an older adult.”

Known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom or Biak, kratom is consumed as a pill, powder and in tea for its stimulant effects and as as an opioid substitute.

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes food poisoning. Most infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after ingesting the bacteria. The symptoms can last for several days and most recover without treatment.

More than 130 people in 38 states, including three in Kent, Livingston and Monroe counties, have been made ill by salmonella-tainted kratom, according to the state's health department.

Officials said there haven't been any deaths connected to the outbreak, but 38 people have been hospitalized.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a mandatory recall for all food products containing powdered kratom manufactured, processed, packed or held by Triangle Pharmanaturals, LLC. A list is available at the FDA website.

Other kratom products have been recalled voluntarily by suppliers or manufacturers as several other brands and products containing kratom have tested positive for salmonella.

In Michigan, the state health deparatment's Bureau of Laboratories has detected salmonella in kratom-containing products from Herbal-Salvation/Viable Solutions LLC: Red Vein Bali, Green Horn, Red Vein Sumatra and Thai Maeng Da.