The UK Food Standards Agency is the latest European food safety agency to advise its citizens to avoid the herbal ingredient kava kava, joining France, Switzerland and Germany.
In a statement this week, the FSA claimed that it 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.
Kava kava is a herb, commonly found in remedies and it may also be an ingredient in some food products. In recent months, concerns have been raised in relation to the safety of kava kava and its toxic effect on the liver, with at least 68 reported cases worldwide of liver problems suspected to be associated with kava kava, including three in the UK.
The Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), independent advisers to the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), has assessed the herbal ingredient and concludes that the safety risks associated with kava kava far outweigh any possible therapeutic benefits.
The MCA id advising against the consumption of herbal remedies containing kava kava. The MCA is responsible for the safety of medicines and has initiated parallel actions to those of the FSA proposing to prohibit the sale of medicinal products containing kava kava.
The FSA stressed that there should not be any adverse effects from stopping taking kava kava abruptly.