There has been much concern, gossip, and despair in the Kava world as of late. Some of our favorite Kavas have suddenly become unavailable, and when many of us thought we were several clicks away from a fresh bag of Solomon Kava we found, to our dismay, that it was no longer available. Rumors have swirled around about an impending shut down of Kava and Kava vendors in crisis.
So I've put on my journalist hat and done some investigating, and what I've found is not too reassuring.
Sources (who I will give the pseudonym of "Philip") have informed me of seized containers of Kava that are (as of right now) frozen in ports under the order of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Apparently, this is not unusual in and of itself, but the length of time which those containers have been seized is unusual. Kava shipped by air from two different countries has been seized and held in a storage facility awaiting inspection, and has essentially been left to sit at these facilities at the cost of the Kava vendor. In other words, the longer that Kava is sitting there the lower the profit margins for the vendor. Philip told me that this is just another way for the FDA to attack Kava. Rather than making Kava illegal, they are trying to make it unprofitable.
It seems that some of those "anti-energy" drinks are part of the problem. We have even discussed them here - Take 2 For Sleep, Mary Jane's Relaxing Soda, etc. - and all of them contain Kava extract. Kava in concoctions other than Kava root powder or instant Kava has been known to be harmful and were the reason for Kava's initial ban in Europe. Philip explained to me that the FDA has Kava vendors sign an agreement that they will not create such concoctions from their imported Kava or sell Kava to companies that do make such concoctions. The fact that these kinds of concoctions are flooding the market has upped the FDAs game. Because of this renewed effort to control sources of Kava, normal everyday Kava has become targeted.
So as those containers of Kava sit at a port in Los Angeles, Philip is given no indication of whether his Kava is going to get cleared or not, and racks up expenses for the contained Kava. Left with two choices, Philip must decide between a) gambling that the Kava will get cleared and continue to pay a daily fee to the airline or b) refuse the Kava and send it back to the country it was grown in.
To quote Philip: "the FDA is very powerful and they don't have to ban something per se to stop the importation of it. All they have to do is discourage businesspeople from wanting to import it and the same effect occurs."
Not a good sign at all.