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Coffee with Viagra-like ingredient recalled after FDA discovery 2017-07-21
Albert Yee said the coffee is everywhere you look in the densely packed vendor stalls along avenues in Malaysian cities: an instant mix with a natural ingredient similar to what's found in Viagra that helps men with erectile dysfunction. And Yee wanted a piece of the action.
“There are whole streets of it, like tequila in Mexico,” Yee told The Washington Post by phone Thursday, describing how his one-man Texas import business is now at the center of a nationwide voluntary recall coordinated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA announced last week that Yee's company, Grand Prairie, Tex.-based Bestherbs Coffee LLC, is voluntarily recalling all lots of the uniquely spelled “New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee” due to undeclared ingredients, including desmethyl carbodenafil and milk, sold between July 2014 and June 2016.
“Desmethyl carbodenafil is structurally similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA-approved prescription drug for erectile dysfunction,” the FDA said in a statement.
The “undeclared ingredient may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels,” the FDA noted.
“Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease often take nitrates,” the FDA said. It also warned that the coffee's unlisted milk ingredient could be dangerous for people with allergies or sensitivities to milk.
Both the FDA and Yee said there have been no consumer health issues related to his company's coffee.
Yee said he was not sure how much coffee was involved in the recall, but estimates he'll receive a few hundred to a thousand bags from customers that he will then hand over to the FDA for destruction.
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It will be the FDA's latest recall involving coffee laced with the ingredient. Stiff Bull Herbal Coffee faced a similar recall last year, as did the sellers of Caverlo Natural Herbal Coffee in May.
In both instances, the sellers advertised the inclusion of Tongkat Ali, the root of a tree found in Malaysian rain forests and distilled to pill form, or concentrated and mixed with coffee or tea. In 2014, ABC News sent a reporter into the bush to scout for the root, which can only be extracted with tools to partially topple the tree, making the root particularly difficult to harvest for mass production.