Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA News Report, 18 July 2002

NOVEL FOODS - Consumers advised to avoid kava kava products

The Food Standards Agency is to consult on legislation to ensure any food products containing kava kava are removed from the market in light of a new safety assessment.

The Agency is advising consumers to avoid any food products containing kava kava. Kava kava is a herb, commonly found in remedies. It may also be an ingredient in some food products. However, concerns have been raised in relation to the safety of kava kava and its toxic effect on the liver. There have been at least 68 reported cases worldwide of liver problems suspected to be associated with kava kava, including 3 in the UK.

The herbal ingredient has been assessed by the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), independent advisers to the Medicines Control Agency (MCA). The CSM concludes that the safety risks associated with kava kava far outweigh any possible therapeutic benefits.

The MCA are advising against the consumption of herbal remedies containing kava kava. The MCA are responsible for the safety of medicines and have initiated parallel actions to those of the FSA proposing to prohibit the sale of medicinal products containing kava kava.

There should not be any adverse effects from stopping taking kava kava abruptly. Anyone concerned about their health should talk to their doctor.

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