POMONA (CBSLA.com) — A Pomona company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall for its cough syrup because it contains morphine.

Master Herbs Inc. is pulling all lots of Licorice Coughing Liquid in 100 ml bottles because it contains the opioid pain medication that is not listed on the labels.

The manager at Master Herbs didn’t want to be on camera but told CBS2/KCAL9’s Rachel Kim that the company distributes the syrup that’s manufactured in China. He said although he did not know it contained morphine until recently, he believes the tiny amount used is safe. In fact, he said it is commonly used in China today.

Doctors at Pomona Valley Hospital said they are seeing more people getting sick because they are taking compounds that are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

They want ingesting morphine without medical guidance can be harmful. “We tend to avoid handing out narcotics to people because we see the outcomes of it. In a cough syrup, our specific concern is respiratory depression, apnea and symptoms that can lead to seizures and possibly death,” osteopathic physician Lisa McAfee said.

If you are thinking about taking a medication or supplement, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor first, the emergency medicine specialist said. “There’s no way to account for what’s contained in these supplements. So, I would advise against it because you don’t know what the interactions are going to be with your own medications or with your own underlying illness that you’re undergoing at the time,” McAfee said.

The company press release also said young children with a respiratory illness are vulnerable and should not be exposed to morphine.

Master Herbs said it is not aware of adverse events associated with use of the product.

The cough syrup was distributed to Chinese grocery stores in California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio   and Nevada. The label is printed in Chinese and English.

In its recall notice, the company advised consumers to stop using the cough syrup, retailers and wholesalers to halt distributing the syrup and quarantine any remaining inventory.

Consumers with questions can call Master Herbs at (626) 319-9915 or email them at 999herbs@gmail.com.

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