Japan focus: Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s red yeast saga, DyDo DRINCO’s FFCs, Morinaga-funded probiotic study

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images
©Getty Images

Related tags Japan

This round-up features Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s red yeast saga and implications, DyDo DRINCO’s new functional beverages, and findings from a Morinaga-funded study on probiotic Bifidobacterium longum BB536.

DyDo DRINCO seeks to meet shifting consumer needs and fill nutrient gaps in Japanese diet with new functional beverages

DyDo DRINCO recently released products targeted at skin-conscious female consumers, and beverages fortified with magnesium and vitamin D, nutrients that the firm says is lacking in the Japanese diet.

As part of its active expansion into dietary supplements and nutritionals​, the firm has renewed some of its products into Foods with Function Claims (FFCs).

The firm has also worked with HADABISEI, a brand under cosmetics company Kracie Group, to develop a range of functional beverages called Supervised by HADABISEI. Each product from this series is added with 100mg of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Red yeast rice saga: Japan authority urges all FFC businesses to declare health hazards

Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA), which oversees the FFC sector, is asking all businesses to declare any health hazards linked to their products in the wake of Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s red yeast rice saga.

The agency sent out a questionnaire from March 28 to about 1,700 businesses selling FFCs to confirm whether there is any information pertaining to their products and health hazards, and whether appropriate reporting has been done if any. 

Japan red yeast rice extract crisis: The three key elements that require safety tests during production

Industry experts highlighted that red yeast rice extract production would need to fulfil three key elements of testing to ensure product safety, amid an ongoing crisis involving Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s red yeast rice raw materials.

The three key elements are fermentation substrate, red yeast rice, and red yeast rice extract.

Specifically, the fermentation substrate requires thorough testing for pesticides, heavy metals, and mycotoxins that can contaminate the crop; red yeast rice, the fermented product, must be scrutinised for citrinin; and the final products must be tested for contaminants including citrinin, heavy metals, microbes, phthalates, ethylene oxide, and Monacolin K levels.

Red yeast rice supplements scandal: Kobayashi Pharmaceutical halts production, recalls all products amid kidney disease, death cases

Best known for its fever relief pad Koolfever, Osaka-headquartered Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has halted production of all its red yeast rice raw material and supplements, following consumer complaints of kidney disease.

The company has also recalled all of its products that contain these materials, on top of the five SKUs that it had initially recalled on March 22.

Two death cases suspected to be linked to the product consumption have been reported. As of March 26, there were 50 additional hospitalised cases suspected to be linked with the use of its red yeast rice supplements.

Probiotic B. longum BB536 may prevent common cold symptoms, but more research needed to understand how it works – Morinaga-funded study

Daily supplementation with Bifidobacterium longum​ BB536 (B. longum​ BB536) can suppress common cold-like symptoms, but future studies are required to clarify how it works, according to a new Morinaga-funded study.

Researchers evaluated the effect of B. longum​ BB536 on healthy adults in a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial.

Although not significantly different, the number of days with symptoms, such as chills, general malaise, and articular pain, were lower in the BB536 group than in the placebo group during the test period.

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