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Having been unsuccessful in banning kratom and kratom products, the United States Food and Drug Administration has taken a new approach to restrict the flow of kratom into the US.

According to the American Kratom Association (AKA), the FDA has warned two prominent couriers — DHL and UPS — that it is illegal for them to ship kratom and kratom products into the United States — even though the agency has no legal grounds to do so. The FDA is also claiming that these couriers need a permit, issued by the FDA, to legally transport and deliver kratom products. Both DHL and UPS fulfill many small-to-mid-sized kratom shipments from Indonesia, where the majority of kratom is grown and exported.

The FDA’s action was announced and criticized by Mac Haddow, Senior Fellow on Public Policy of the AKA, in a recent video. He also stated that the AKA is working to convince DHL and UPS that the FDA is misinforming them.

“The truth of the matter is that there’s nothing illegal about shipping kratom products into the United States,” said Haddow. “That would only apply if there was a drug raw material ingredient that was being shipped into the United States. Despite the view that the FDA has that kratom is an unapproved drug, it has not conclusively been proven and, in fact, it’s marketed with the intended use as a food in the United States and, in some cases, a dietary supplement.”

Haddow noted that the FDA’s Import Alert 54-15 allows the agency and US authorities to seize kratom shipments from flagged importers and exporters when they reach American soil. However, the agency does not have the authority to detain all other uncontaminated kratom shipments, and there’s no policy in place requiring couriers like DHL and UPS to cease fulfilling kratom deliveries

Nonetheless, Haddow admitted that the seizure of kratom shipments is warranted if those kratom products pose a threat to public health.

“There was a seizure that was done just in the last couple of days in Detroit, I believe, where the customs people detained a shipment of kratom because it was contaminated with salmonella … That is an appropriate function of the border control and the FDA to stop the contaminated products [from] coming into the United States.”

Thankfully, AKA GMP certified and trusted kratom vendors often test their kratom products for contaminants like salmonella before approving them for sale.