The case of Japan Dietary Supplement “beni-koji” (red yeast rice) for reducing cholesterol, leads to hospitalisations and deaths

Products that have been recalled.

I believe most would have heard the news from papers or social media that there are numerous fatalities and over 100 hospitalizations after consuming red yeast rice dietary supplements from Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co., the Japanese drugmaker. 

Red yeast rice consists of rice fermented with a mould culture. It has been used in food, alcoholic drinks, and folk medicines for many centuries around East Asia. The manufacturer Kobayashi Pharmaceutical said they detected a potentially toxic acid produced by the mould at one of its factories.

Although the precise cause has yet to be determined, investigations have revealed the presence of puberulic acid, a compound derived from blue mold, which is suspected to be linked to the reported illnesses. Red yeast rice is typically produced via fermentation with red yeast, raising the possibility that contamination occurs during the manufacturing processes. Questions are also raised about the factory’s quality control, with the company admitting that its production line had not obtained a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification.

I am glad that Nutritional Immunology Products do not undergo any fermentation process involving yeasts or mould culture. E.Excel manufacturing facilities also maintain GMP certification and ensure rigorous quality control and thorough checks for microbial content in each batch produced.

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