Red rice yeast products recalled in Japan not in Singapore, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Red rice yeast products recalled in Japan not in Singapore

The recalled health supplements that have been linked to at least five deaths and 100 hospitalisations in Japan are not marketed for sale in Singapore, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on April 1.

The three products from Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Japan are Red Yeast Rice Cholesterol, Nattokinase Smooth Grain Gold and Naishi Help + Cholesterol.

They contain beni koji, and are currently being recalled in Japan following widespread reports of alleged adverse health effects by those who had consumed them.

Beni koji, or red rice yeast, is used to make red rice wine and other food products, and is also used as a pigment.

Because it produces statins, which help lower cholesterol, it is often marketed as a health supplement.

Statins, however, can pose health risks in those who have diabetes or other liver conditions.

HSA said patients who had consumed the affected products were subsequently diagnosed with kidney ailments.

The health authority said: “Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Japan is currently investigating the matter. HSA will continue to work with Kobayashi Pharmaceutical (Singapore) and also monitor the situation closely. Members of the public will be updated if there is any safety concern.

“To date, there has been no report of serious adverse events suspected to be associated with the use of red yeast rice in health products that are available locally.”

In the case of the recalled Kobayashi Pharmaceutical supplements, ingredients that were not meant to be included were also detected in the products.

According to Japanese media reports, puberulic acid – a potent antibacterial and antimalarial agent that can be produced from blue mould and can be toxic – was confirmed in a batch of the products that caused the health complaints.

Two factory premises operated by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical in Osaka and Wakayama have been searched by Japanese officials from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

HSA said consumers with pre-existing medical conditions should consult a doctor or pharmacist before consuming health products, including those that contain beni koji, to avoid any interaction with medicines they might already be consuming.

Anyone who feels unwell after consuming health products should stop taking them and seek medical advice.