PETALING JAYA: An instant coffee distributor in the US which claims to have extracts of the stimulating tonic plant Tongkat Ali in its product has voluntarily recalled its “natural herbal coffee” following the reported death of one of its consumers.
According to an announcement on the website of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 25, Caverflo.com was recalling all lots of its Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee packaged in 25-gramme foil packs.
“FDA laboratory analysis confirmed the presence of Sildenafil and Tadalafil which are the active ingredients in two FDA-approved prescription drugs used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED),” the announcement said.
“Caverflo.com has received a report of an individual death after use of the coffee,” it said, adding that the merchandise may also contain undeclared milk.
“These undeclared ingredients may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels,” it said.
The product, distributed to consumers in the US, was used as a “male enhancement”, the announcement said.
It added that the company was also notifying its customers by email.
“Consumers that have Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee which is being recalled should stop using/discard/ and contact their doctor,” it said.
A check by FMT found the contact listed for the product as bearing a Malaysian mobile number under the name Chin Ong.
When contacted, Chin Ong said he was surprised at being alerted about the news by an acquaintance.
He said he had tried to sell the brand about four or five years ago but the venture was unsuccessful, and he was no longer involved in it.
He also said he was not involved in the final content mixture and packaging of the product.
In its report yesterday, STAT, a US-based online news publication, identified the distributor and owner of the website as Dallas-based truck driver Brian Richardson.
It quoted Richardson as saying he had no idea the supplement was tainted. On his site, he had advertised the product as “an absolutely all herbal beverage containing instant coffee and three herbs,” including Tongkat Ali, the report said.
“The FDA is making it like I’m some super manufacturer of this stuff when I just bought like 50 packs of it from the corner store and I said, ‘Well I can sell it somewhere else on the other side of town.’ And now it’s led to this,” he was quoted as saying.
He also reportedly said he did not repackage the product in any way, and that he knew the man who died but did not believe the coffee caused the death.
The STAT report said the distributor’s website mentioned that people with heart conditions should always consult a doctor before beginning any “regiment”, but added that the product will not have any toxicity.
The site also included a standard disclaimer noting that the product has not been evaluated by the FDA and was “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease,” the report added.
On its homepage, Caverflo.com describes the product as combining instant coffee with natural aphrodisiacs. “This way, people can enjoy their favourite drink while simultaneously addressing a sexual let down,” it says.
It says the three herbs it contains – Tongkat Ali, maca and guarana – grow wild in the jungles of Malaysia and have been used for centuries by the people of Asia and South America to improve sexual health, libido, and overall wellness in men and women.
“The combination of these ingredients produces an awesome effect that can last up to 3 – 4 days per 1 pack, with phenomenal results!” it says.
“For most just a couple of teaspoons in your ‘hot cup’ of water is enough to feel the full effects, for all others use just one half of the package. You should see results in around 15 minutes,” it adds.