Illnesses increase in two US Salmonella outbreaks

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kratom. Picture: iStock/ninoninos
Kratom. Picture: iStock/ninoninos
More illnesses have been reported in two different Salmonella outbreaks in the US.

A total of 40 people are infected with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- and 14 hospitalised from 27 states with a link to kratom powder.

In the other investigation, chicken salad sold at Fareway grocery stores has sickened 170 people from seven states with 62 hospitalised.

Outbreak strain in kratom powder

The outbreak strain was identified in two samples of leftover kratom powder from ill people in North Dakota and Utah.

Ill people range in age from six to 67 and 17 of 24 reported consuming it in the seven days before getting sick. Illness dates range from 10 October 2017 to February 13 and 60% are male.

The ill person in North Dakota purchased S.K. Herbalist brand kratom powder from and the person in Utah bought it from

For 17 people who reported consuming kratom, 13 remembered where it was purchased. Three bought kratom from retail in several states and 10 purchased it from various online retailers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised people not consume kratom in any form.

FDA said it is likely multiple kratom-containing brands and retailers are supplying contaminated product to the public. No common brands or suppliers of the plant-based health supplement have been identified. 

PDX Aromatics, doing business as Kraken Kratom, Phytoextractum and Soul Speciosa, recalled certain kratom-containing powders due to potential Salmonella.

The company said it was aware of one confirmed case of Salmonella associated with the products. It is unclear if the pathogen strain is the same as the one reported in the outbreak affecting 27 states.

Affected items are sold in 28g, 56g and 112g​ and an estimated 10,000 units were sold directly to consumers via company websites between 18 January and 18 February.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) found certain lots tested positive for the pathogen.

PDX Aromatics has identified a supplier as the source of Salmonella and removed them from its supply chain and associated products from its facility.

It has ceased distribution of products to do a facility audit and will destroy all recalled items upon return.

The plant grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and is marketed in leaves, pills, capsules, powder and tea and may not mention kratom on the label.

Other names for it are Mitragyna speciosa, mitragynine extract, biak-biak, cratom, gratom, ithang, kakuam, katawn, kedemba, ketum, krathom, krton, mambog, madat, Maeng da leaf, nauclea, Nauclea speciosa or thang.

AKA response to outbreak

In an earlier statement, Dave Herman, American Kratom Association chairman of the board, said the FDA is ‘going against sound science’ when it comes to kratom.

“This natural botanical is used by millions of Americans to maintain their overall health and well-being - in the same way that coffee, natural supplements, and other life-improving products are used every day," ​he said.

“There are 1.3 million cases of Salmonella each year, many from eggs, peanut butter, and meat. Yet the CDC does not recommend Americans stop consuming those products. Why should American kratom vendors voluntarily recall and ‘destroy’ all kratom supplements as the FDA suggests because of this fractional number of cases involving potential Salmonella contamination?

“AKA supports appropriate product regulation to ensure safety and purity standards for kratom-based supplements - not barring access to the millions of Americans who utilize this plant’s many benefits without issue.”

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Contaminated chicken salad

In the other outbreak, another 105 ill people from six states were added to the investigation.

They likely bought contaminated chicken salad before it was recalled and the most recent illness began on 18 February, said CDC.

Triple T Specialty Meats recalled chicken salad produced from 2 January to 7 February last month.

Recalled product was sold in containers of various weights from the deli at Fareway grocery stores in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota from 4 January to 9 February.

The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is also investigating the Salmonella Typhimurium infections.

Of 159 people interviewed, 131 reported eating chicken salad from Fareway stores.

Investigators in Iowa collected chicken salad from two Fareway stores and identified the outbreak strain in both samples.

  • This article was updated to include the PDX Aromatics kratom powder recall

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