More Japanese individuals hospitalized due to red yeast rice consumption

Japanese Health Officials Urge Beni-Koji Manufacturers to Monitor Customers Amid Scandal Over Toxic Red Yeast Rice

On April 3, the Japanese Ministry of Health urged 173 beni-koji distribution companies to monitor their customers for any health issues related to the product. This came after the ministry reported an additional 9 people were hospitalized after using beni-koji red yeast rice from pharmaceutical company Kobayashi, bringing the total number of patients to 166. The health status of these 9 patients is currently unknown, with most previously hospitalized individuals experiencing symptoms such as irritability, loss of appetite, abnormal urine, and kidney disorders.

Kobayashi introduced the product “beni-koji choleste help” in February 2021 and sold approximately one million packs by the end of February this year. However, many users later developed kidney disease. The company identified puberulic acid, a natural compound derived from green mold, in the production of beni-koji, which the Ministry of Health stated is a potent antibacterial and antimalarial substance that can be toxic to users.

The Food Safety Department advised that these products have not been approved for circulation in Vietnam and warned against purchasing them through social networks. If these products are found in the market, individuals are urged to notify authorities for appropriate action in accordance with the law. Additionally, on April 1, health authorities in Taiwan reported 11 cases of health problems linked to Kobayashi’s beni koji, with one individual purchasing the product in Japan. There have been five reported deaths associated with this functional food since March 27.

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