Red mould supplement pill linked to deaths and hospitalisations pulled from shelves in Japan | Health News

Japan’s Ministry of Health has ordered a recall of health supplements containing the ingredient “benikoji” after reports of kidney-related complaints from customers. The move follows two deaths and over 100 hospitalizations linked to the supplements, which are marketed as products that can help lower cholesterol levels.

The supplements in question contain red yeast rice, or benikoji, and are made by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical, based in Osaka. The company is currently investigating a potential link between the products and kidney issues. In addition to Kobayashi’s products, more than 40 other products from different companies containing benikoji have also been recalled, including miso paste, crackers, and vinegar dressing.

Health Minister Keizo Takemi has urged Kobayashi Pharmaceutical to provide information promptly and has called on the public to stop using the supplements. The company has issued an apology and advised users not to consume the products in the future. There is concern that more victims could come forward in the coming days, especially those with pre-existing health issues. Medical studies suggest that red yeast rice can be effective in lowering cholesterol but also come with a risk of organ damage, depending on its composition.

This recall is the first major one involving domestically produced supplements in Japan. While all the products were made in Japan, it is unknown if any of the raw materials used were imported. Authorities are urging the public to avoid products containing benikoji to prevent further health issues.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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