The need for laboratory testing of kratom.
Lab testing for kratom products is extremely important for several reasons, including:
- To ensure consumer safety.
- To comply with regulators.
- To preserve access to kratom products and promote an ethical industry.
Did you know…?
Approximately 15 to 25% of all kratom that comes into the United States fails microbial testing standards. Therefore, pasteurization or sterilization is necessary to reduce bacteria to safe levels.
You need to be careful.
Unfortunately, there have been reports of “fake lab certificates” that have been counterfeited and forged. There are kratom brands in the marketplace that claim to test their products when in reality they do not.
Some brands even claim that their kratom is more potent than it truly is. For example, there have been fraudulent lab reports posted online that indicate 2.5% mitragynine content. This is highly unlikely as all of our testing data indicates a range of 0.5% to 1.5% mitragynine, which is consistent with published research.
What you can do…
Here are some things consumers can look for in assessing whether or not a kratom vendor is actually testing their products:
Don’t be afraid to ask for lab certificates. We here at Super Speciosa have no problems with sharing ours, and we don’t see why any legitimate vendor would. We even go as far as providing QR codes on our product labels, so that you can simply scan it to view the lab report for that specific batch.
A quality lab will typically provide a certificate displaying their company letterhead and clear notation of their full contact information, including address and phone number.
The lab should have some kind of accreditation. For example, we here at Super Speciosa use Micro Quality Labs to perform our heavy metals testing. They are ISO 17025 accredited and this can be verified on the A2LA website.
A2LA is the only independent, 501(c)3, non-profit, internationally-recognized accreditation body in the United States that offers a full range of comprehensive laboratory and laboratory-related accreditation services.
Lab certificates for microbial testing should include a full panel of tests – not just Salmonella. Due to the reports from the FDA in early 2018 of Salmonella contamination in kratom, there were several vendors who began posting test certificates which only indicated whether or not Salmonella was present. However, only testing for Salmonella isn’t comprehensive enough. Kratom leaf commonly fails testing for Salmonella, E. coli, coliforms, yeast, and mold. So, these all of these microbes should be tested for. If a vendor is only doing one test for Salmonella and nothing else, it should raise a red flag that they are not taking all of the proper steps to ensure a safe product.
Lab certificates should have a batch number or lot number associated with the kratom product that is listed on the lab certificate. If you read a lab certificate and the sample was submitted as “Green Borneo” without an associated batch number or lot number, that should raise a red flag. If there is no designated number, consider how the vendor is keeping track of which batch of “Green Borneo” the test was done for. The vendor cannot assume that just because one batch of “Green Borneo” had been tested, that every batch thereafter will also pass testing. In fact, that would be a very lazy and risky assumption.
We want to reiterate that products should be designated with batch numbers or lot numbers. Again, no batch number or lot number on the product means there is no traceability to the test results.
When clean lab tests can be misleading.
Let’s say a vendor receives a 1,000 kilogram shipment of kratom from Indonesia. The shipment is separated in 50 boxes, with each box containing 20 kilograms. The vendor takes one box, opens it up, and scoops several grams into a sampling container to send out for lab testing.
Is this sample representative of the entire 1,000 kilograms the Vendor received? As you could probably guess, the answer is no. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Indonesian kratom suppliers currently do not follow proper procedures that should lead anyone to believe all boxes in a single shipment are part of a uniform batch. It’s possible that boxes within the same shipment were milled on different days. This means that boxes within the same shipment could contain kratom from one or multiple sources and exhibit varying levels of freshness.
- Many Indonesian suppliers do not blend the kratom leaf prior to packaging and shipment. This means that a sample from one box may not be representative of the other boxes in the same shipment.
- Herbal powders typically contain hot spots of bacteria. So, unless the kratom powder is blended prior to sampling, a sample from a clean spot may pass lab testing, whereas a sample taken from a hot spot within the same box would result in a failed test.
Unfortunately, faulty sampling plans are common among kratom vendors.
There’s more to it than just simply testing.
A clean lab test doesn’t tell the entire story. Vendors must practice a solid sampling strategy to acquire meaningful test results.
We here at Super Speciosa start by pasteurizing our kratom using a gentle heat – hot enough to kill bacteria, yet low enough to preserve the integrity of the alkaloids. Then we batch and blend the kratom before taking a sample.
Our samples are taken from small batches of less than 100 kilograms and every single batch is tested. We do not rely on a statistical sample. We use this strategy to get 100% coverage.
We make certain that each Super Speciosa kratom product is fully traceable to a specific batch and a corresponding set of lab tests that are reviewed by our Quality Control Team before they can be approved for sale to our customers.
We use the criteria set forth by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF – a leading organization recognized around the world for public health and safety) for dietary supplements in order to evaluate whether or not our kratom products meet quality standards. Batches that do not meet the NSF criteria are rejected, disposed of, and will never be sold.
The American Kratom Association (AKA) introduced its Kratom GMP Standards Program in early 2019. Among many other requirements, the program requires participants to qualify suppliers and document standard operating procedures, as well as implement testing procedures to protect against microorganisms of public health concern..
Super Speciosa is happy to be one of the first qualified vendors to achieve the GMP standards set forth by the AKA. Learn more about the importance of quality standards for kratom:
We understand that our progress is a direct result of your experience as a customer, so we pledge to do everything in our power to ensure your satisfaction. Learn more about us, our quality control processes, and our commitment to you.