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Morphine Leads to Recall of Licorice Cough Liquid

(CN) - Master Herbs Inc., of Pomona, Calif., voluntarily recalled all lots of its licorice coughing liquid because it has been found to contain morphine, an opiod, that is not declared on the product's label.

The cough syrup is sold in 100 ml bottles. The morphine is an unidentified ingredient in the compound camphor, which is listed on the product's label.

In a written statement, the company said because it is not listed on the label, consumers using the product may not be aware they are ingesting morphine.

"The unaware ingestion of morphine can lead to life-threatening respiratory depression and death," it said.

This is particularly true of people who are hypersensitive to morphine and could suffer a severe allergic reaction as a result.

"In addition, young children with a respiratory illness are vulnerable to respiratory depression from opioids and should not be exposed to morphine in any event," the company said.

Master Herbs also emphasized that, to date, is is not aware of any adverse events associated with use of the product.

Licorice Coughing Liquid is marketed for the temporary relief of cough due to cold, minor throat and bronchial irritations. It is most often sold through Chinese grocery stores in various cities in California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio and Nevada.

Consumers with questions regarding this recall can contact Master Herbs, Inc. by phone at 626-319-9915 Monday through Friday from 10:00am - 5:00pm PST or anytime via email at [email protected]

The company said consumers who believe they have or are currently experiencing an adverse reaction to the product should contact their physician or healthcare provider.

Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product can also be reported to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax. The agency can be reached at 1-800-332-1088.

An online reporting form is also available at

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