Yeast Mold in KavaOne of the biggest questions we get asked is whether or not we do Kava Lab Testing. It’s not only a resounding “Yes we do!” – it’s actually one of the things we specialize in. In fact, we’ve probably tested more Kava than any other facility of our type. The results, though — they’re nothing short of shocking. Mind you, Kava is an extraordinarily difficult plant to work with. The part of the plant that is consumed is the roots. The roots are sitting and growing and maturing surrounded in dirt, out of the light, and a perfect breeding ground for mold, fungus, bacteria and a host of other environmental dangers. Also, Kavalactones begin to break down at just 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making it impossible to irradiate Kava via heat.

This creates an unusual problem for those wanting to sell Kava for consumption to consumers.

What’s more, is that most of the Kava currently on the market comes from emerging nations such as Fiji and Vanuatu. Both of these places have issues with rain water, water runoff, drinking water, and sewage all intermingling. Since water is used to water Kava plants, the issues facing Kava become clear. If most of Kava was grown using rainwater, this would be far less of an issue. But it’s not. Most of the Kava, especially large scale production of Kava takes irrigation. After personally researching irrigation techniques in both Fiji and Vanuatu, it became very clear, very quickly, that there could be more than just problems with bacteria, mold, and yeast in Kava.

Having said that, though, much of the mold and other bacteria that occurs naturally in Kava isn’t inherently harmful. In fact, one of the common molds found in Kava is sold as a pro-biotic, and can actually help calm stomachs that may be upset by Kava root. But, this is impossible to know until DNA testing is done on the Kava sample. And this can get very costly very quickly.

Wonderland-Labs decided to cast a wide net on Kava testing, just to get an idea of what pathogens may be found in Kava Root. We tested root from multiple sources, throughout the world, including Fiji, Hawaii, Vanuatu, China, and Germany. We initially tested for these items:

  • Aerobic total plate count
  • Bacillus cerius
  • Coliform
  • E. coli
  • Listeria
  • Pseudomonas
  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococcus
  • Yeast & Mold

We’re weren’t certain what we would find if any, especially because there is so little data available on Kava products. What we discovered was disturbing.
In more than a few raw Kava root samples, we found a host of yeast, mold, and bacteria. That’s to be expected since Kava root is just that; a root, and roots that reside in dirt will typically show higher percentages of mold and other bacteria than plants that have their leaves, stems, or flowers used for consumption. Worse than that, though, is this:

Several samples tested positive for E. coli and Staphylococcus.

What’s even more disturbing, is that we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the occurrence of E. Coli in Kava Root since 2016. One of the many reasons this could be is the massive flooding that has occurred in both Fiji and Vanuatu in 2016. All kinds of waste water, runoff, and churned up bacteria would inevitably end up in the Kava root. Out of the first 20 samples we tested in 2017, nearly 25% of them came up positive for E. coli, and 2 of them came up positive for Staphylococcus.

Please understand; I don’t present this information to be alarmist or to try to drum up some business based on fear for our testing lab. I present it only to encourage anyone who is thinking about selling Kava for consumption, at least in its raw form, to first think about the safety of the consumer. In fact, product testing isn’t just a good idea, it’s a requirement by the FDA for all dietary supplements. Since Kava does not have GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) status, Kava can’t be made into a food. That means any Kava product, by law, must be manuafactured as a dietary supplement, and therefore must follow the far more stringent rules that dietary supplements need to follow. This includes mandatory product testing.

 

There are ways of irradiating Kava, but we don’t know of any vendors yet who actually do this with their Kava root powder, and they don’t offer Kava Root; only processed Kava. We do 100% of the testing for Kava.com, and can personally attest that none of their Kava has ever come up positive for any dangerous pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella, Pseudomonas, or heavy metals.

Here at Wonderland-Labs, we will help instill trust in your Kava products. We offer a full range of tests, and even offer biological tests a la carte if you so choose. To verify both the identity of your Kava, as well as the Kavalactone lineup and total Kavalactone percentage, we charge just $99.00. We keep a reference standard in the freezer, and rotate to a fresh reference standard every 3 months, to ensure that you get accurate results, time and time again. Many testing labs who don’t specialize in Kava, will have to first buy a reference standard, the cost of which will get passed onto you.

Then, if you’re interested in biological testing, we offer the full menu required by the FDA, as well as heavy metal testing also highly recommended by the FDA, and used by every major dietary supplement provider we’ve encountered. Each of those tests is $99.00 as well, bringing a full workup for your product to just $297.00.

That may seem like a lot, but the price of insurance against a dangerous product can prevent you from being sued, or worse; driven out of business by a consumer complaint, and then a visit from the FDA.

We love what we do, and we love Kava. It’s a match made in heaven. Take a look around the website, check out the FAQ PAGE for every question we’ve ever been asked, or GET A QUOTE using our handy online form.