According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Eclectic Institute is voluntarily recalling specific lots of its freeze-dried capsules containing Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) and Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) capsules because of potential Salmonella contamination.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, Salmonella infection can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
Eclectic Institute sold the recalled products to retailers, individuals, and health practitioners throughout the United States. The products that are subject of this voluntary recall were sold by several different methods.
The affected lots of Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) products were sold from September 14, 2011 to December 14, 2011. The affected lots of Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) products were sold from July 14, 2011 to December 14, 2011.
Eclectic issued this voluntary recall because a routine audit of micro-testing records revealed that the micro-tests for one batch of Gotu Kola and one batch of Bladderwrack had conflicting lab results – one positive and one negative for Salmonella.
Bladderwrack is used to treat thyroid disorders and other ailments. It is used in Europe as an additive and flavoring and is frequently found in kelp tablets. Gotu kola has been used medicinally in China, India and elsewhere to treat a number of conditions, including ulcers, epilepsy, diarrhea and fever.
Mark Oppenheimer, a company spokesman, said the bladderwrack was culled off the coast of Oregon. The company’s gotu kola comes from an organic farm in Hawaii. Eclectic Institute sent letters to its customers, informing them of the recall. It also called all of the affected stores in Oregon, he said.
The 30-year-old company with 50 employees has never had a recall before, Oppenheimer said. This one follows a surprise visit by Food and Drug Administration inspectors, who are cracking down on dietary supplement companies that largely fell under the radar in the past.
Oppenheimer said Eclectic Institute tests lots before distribution for common foodborne pathogens, such as E. coli 0157:H7 and salmonella. In the past, when harmful bacteria showed up, it had the plants retested, fearing false positives. But in the future, it will order a recall or not distribute plants after a positive test.
According to the recall notice, no adverse effects or illnesses have been reported to date in connection with the recalled supplements.
This recall affects only specific products listed on the FDA website. No other Eclectic Institute products are affected by this recall. All of the freeze-dried capsules were packaged in either glass or plastic bottles. Lot numbers can be found on the bottom of the label of the product.
Consumers in possession of any of the voluntarily recalled products are urged to return the product to Eclectic Institute’s headquarters in Sandy, Oregon, for a full refund.