Japanese sexual enhancement supplement no longer on sale amid 'date rape drug' criticism

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Peach John, a sexual enhancement supplement, is no longer available for sale amid criticism over its controversial marketing tactics.
Peach John, a sexual enhancement supplement, is no longer available for sale amid criticism over its controversial marketing tactics.

Related tags: sexual enhancement, Japan, Supplements

Japanese lingerie maker Peach John has stopped selling its sexual enhancement supplement, Love Potion, after the product was criticised as a potential date rape drug.

Love Potion was merely launched about two months ago and contains eight main ingredients, including cocoa and velvet bean.

The supplement, which comes in powdered form, was marketed as a product that “arouses feelings of passion” ​and a “love supplement for both men and women”, ​making it clear that it was an aphrodisiac.

However, the firm took a step further by teaching buyers how to feed their lovers with the supplement without their knowing.

In a two part lessons, the firm taught buyers to “secretly make the other person take it”​ and “secretly mix the Love Potion into a meal or candy for them to eat…Then you can enjoy seeing if they notice it or not”.

The company website even included recipes and instructional videos for adding the supplement into confectionery.

In a Twitter post, the firm also recommended users to “secretly mixing it into the someone’s food or drink”.

The public had reacted strongly to the marketing gimmicks, criticising the product as a potential date rape drug.

Hiromi Nakano, chairman of Shiawase Namida, an organisation which raises awareness on sexual violence, said: "It is a human rights violation to put a supplement in secret, this is an advertisement that triggers a crime.”

In response to public pressure, the firm announced on January 16 that it would stop selling Love Potion and product sales would not resume. It also apologised for the inappropriate marketing.

“We have severely offended many of our customers, and we deeply apologise. Many of you have expressed your opinions, and we have removed the offensive statement,” ​according to the firm’s apology statement.

The firm added that it would prevent such incidents from happening in the future by tightening control over its product display.

Allergy concerns

Critics also pointed out how Love Potion could potentially cause allergic reaction when it is consumed unknowingly and that its effectiveness remains unproven.

Keizo Umegaki, a professor of dietary and applied health science at Tokyo’s Showa Women’s University said that without knowing the purity and dosage quantities of the ingredients, the effectiveness of Love Potion, cannot be scientifically evaluated, regardless of its marketing claims, local media The Mainichi reported.

"There are many cases where allergic reactions and liver disorders occur even if the raw materials are natural products, consumers should carefully consider the things that they consume,” ​Keizo said.

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