Yesterday, the American Kratom Association (AKA), a pro-kratom consumer rights organization, announced a new initiative called the "Truth in Labeling" program.
The program, which is active as of today, allows anyone to report kratom vendors that are marketing their products with "impermissible health claims" to the AKA using an online form. If the AKA deems that a vendor is making "illegal therapeutic claims," they will forward the information to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review.
In a video, Mac Haddow, the AKA's Senior Fellow on Public Policy, stated that the program serves to "...protect kratom consumers by eliminating kratom vendors that have put profits over safety in the kratom supply chain." Specifically, the AKA is targeting vendors who market their products with deceptive health claims that are scientifically unfounded and/or intended to increase sales.
As examples of impermissible health claims, Haddow drew attention to marketing language he found on several kratom vendor sites. He found one vendor site that claimed kratom could be used for "skin conditions, arthritis, and opioid dependency."
"Unless these companies have received approval of specific new drug applications to enable them to make these claims, they appear to be violating labeling claim standards under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act," Haddow said.
But according to Haddow, the dangers of impermissible health claims extend farther beyond exploiting kratom consumers: they also embolden the FDA's position that kratom is a harmful grey market drug.
"... Those products ... paint a huge target on kratom that is easy to hit by the FDA, state boards of pharmacy, state health departments, and every other regulatory agency under the sun," said Haddow during the AKA's July 28th webinar.
To combat that stance, the AKA hopes to move the kratom industry in the direction of self-regulation, which Haddow noted is the same tactic used by the dietary supplement industry. While the AKA is not a regulatory body of the US government, Haddow sees a need for self-policing. "The truth is, the FDA does not have the investigators or the funding to conduct inspections and investigations into every bad actor in the kratom space."
Haddow went on to compare the unregulated kratom market to the CBD market in the US. "The [CBD] market is flooded with poorly formulated, misbranded, and adulterated CBD products that have allowed unscrupulous marketers to force legitimate CBD manufacturers out of the business. That has put CBD consumers at significant safety risks, all because of the quest for the cheap products."
"Let's show our elected officials, state regulators, and the FDA that we are ready to help in the battle against dangerous kratom products that are adulterated," said Haddow. "Let's be the good consumers and look for quality products, not the cheap knock-offs that are killing the legitimate kratom manufacturers and forcing them out of the marketplace."
To learn more about the American Kratom Association's Truth in Labeling program or to report a kratom vendor that is making unverified health claims, visit this page on the AKA's website.