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What's Behind Japan's 'Beni Koji' Death Scandal?

Japanese pharmaceutical giant Kobayashi Pharmaceutical is under intense scrutiny after linking its health supplement tablets containing red yeast rice, known as Beni Koji, to a string of deaths and hospitalizations. The company has reported 76 additional deaths possibly related to its products, following an initial recall due to concerns over kidney problems. Beni Koji, derived […]

What's Behind Japan's 'Beni Koji' Death Scandal
What's Behind Japan's 'Beni Koji' Death Scandal

Japanese pharmaceutical giant Kobayashi Pharmaceutical is under intense scrutiny after linking its health supplement tablets containing red yeast rice, known as Beni Koji, to a string of deaths and hospitalizations. The company has reported 76 additional deaths possibly related to its products, following an initial recall due to concerns over kidney problems.

Beni Koji, derived from fermenting rice with Monascus purpureus fungus, has been traditionally used in Asian cuisine and supplements for its cholesterol-lowering properties. Despite promoting health benefits, including antioxidants and amino acids, the supplement faced scrutiny after reports of kidney issues possibly linked to citrinin, a harmful byproduct of fermentation.

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical denies direct responsibility but acknowledges unintended ingredients in its products. The situation prompted a global recall affecting over 300,000 units across multiple countries, including preemptive actions by Taiwanese firms and regulatory responses in Europe.

As investigations continue, Japanese health authorities have conducted raids on Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s facilities, underscoring growing concerns and government oversight in response to the crisis.

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Beni KojiJapanKobayashi PharmaceuticaTDGThe Daily Guardian