SafetyCall recently attended the packed Supply Side West show in Las Vegas.
It was great to see the show back in full swing with so many new and familiar faces! Dr. Rick Kingston, SafetyCall’s President of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, participated during the show in a panel discussion on the toxicity potential of white mulberry, hosted by Informa Markets’ Assistant Editor of Natural Products Insider, Duffy Hayes. White mulberry made headlines over the summer after it was allegedly attributed to be the causative factor in the death of California Rep. Tom McClintock’s wife, Lori McClintock, last December.
The panel discussed the stigma surrounding the dietary supplement market as it affected this story, specifically the pervasive misperception that the industry is unregulated, in addition to the mishandling of the autopsy and investigation itself. Most interestingly, as Rick pointed out, the medical examiner who actually did the autopsy is a pediatric pathologist and as such may not have been the best choice to conduct the autopsy. As an example, he neglected to conduct a comprehensive toxicology panel which in cases like this would typically be mandatory and standard of care. Unfortunately, he appeared to focus his investigation solely on the one item he found in Ms. McClintock’s stomach contents which included a fragment of a leaf identified by UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity as morus alba, white mulberry leaf. Equally disappointing is the fact that to date, he and his office have refused to answer any questions regarding their findings.
White mulberry leaf has a long history of use in traditional medicines and modern-day dietary supplements, with a well-established wide margin of safety. In this particular case, many industry experts have been quick to point out how unlikely it is that the leaf even came from a dietary supplement as most dietary supplement preparations do not contain whole or partial leaves, rather they are capsules, tablets or liquids. As such, whole leaf preparations would more likely be a food/tea preparation.
The medical examiner and a spokesperson for Sacramento County, where the autopsy was conducted, have since declined to provide any further comment on their report. For more information on the story, visit Natural Products Insider or click here.