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26February 2015

Kratom Imports and FDA Import Alert 54-15

Lately it has come to our attention that kratom (MITRAGYNA SPECIOSA) is being targeted more frequently in the past couple of months.  Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs” or “CBP”) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) have been examining and detaining kratom shipments from overseas.  Additionally, express consignment operators such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL, are cautious to ship the product because of the potential problems associated with this botanical.

These delays can be attributed to FDA’s import alert 54-15.  The alert provides for:

DETENTION WITHOUT PHYSICAL EXAMINATION OF DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AND BULK DIETARY INGREDIENTS THAT ARE OR CONTAIN MITRAGYNA SPECIOSA OR KRATOM

The language of the import alert focuses on “DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AND BULK DIETARY INGREDIENTS.”   These types of goods implies an end use for human consumption purposes.  By classifying the product plainly and vaguely as kratom (MITRAGYNA SPECIOSA) on Customs and shipping documents, you are leaving the examining officers at ports of entry across the U.S. with the ultimate decision as to admissibility.   We have also seen declarations such as: incense, soap scrubs, and clothing dye.  Accordingly, the intended use of kratom when imported provides an important factor in determining the kratom’s admissibility. Thus, one must articulate to the federal agencies the use of the kratom properly so as to argue that it falls outside the scope of the import alert.

Please be aware that the FDA has brought action against company’s they find are selling for human consumption:

See here:

U.S. Marshals seize botanical substance kratom from southern California facility

and here:

United States of America v. 577 Cartons et al

We currently represent numerous kratom importers to establish a plan and dialogue with the federal agencies who regulate kratom so as to avoid unnecessary delays and improve clearance of their shipments.  As a result, we have been successful in getting kratom released from detention/seizure by Customs/FDA.  Contact us immediately if your shipment is being detained by the federal agencies.

For more information about an importing kratom or for assistance with any of the issues noted above, contact Abady Law Firm, P.C., at 800.549.5099, to speak with a international trade attorney today!

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