SINGAPORE: The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) announced in a media release on Tuesday (March 27) that it has recalled two sparkling sake products after their manufacturer, Takara Shuzo International Co Ltd, similarly recalled them in Japan.

The products, Mio Sparkling Sake Premium (Rose), packaged in 300 ml and 750 ml bottles, were recalled due to kidney health risks. SFA said they contain red yeast rice, “beni koji,” which is used as a health supplement.

SFA added that its Japanese drugmaker had voluntarily recalled the supplement after complaints of kidney problems associated with its consumption.

“As a precautionary measure, the Singapore Food Agency has directed the importer, Pan Pacific Retail Management (Singapore), to recall the implicated products. The recall is ongoing,” the agency added.

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that on March 23, Takara Shuzo announced that it would be recalling 18,000 750 ml bottles and 78,000 300 ml bottles of Mio Premium Rose.

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This was at the request of the Osaka-based Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co., which manufactures “beni koji.” The “beni koji” malted grain gives the sparkling sake its pink colour. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. recalled “beni koji” on March 22.

While no health problems concerning the sparkling sake have been reported, 300,000 units of five other products containing “beni koji” were recalled by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical after health problems were reported.

Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that Kobayashi Pharmaceutical said that 26 people who consumed a product with “beni koji” were hospitalized for kidney problems.

The Japan Times reported on March 26 that one person died of kidney disease after consuming a product containing the supplement from Kobayashi Pharmaceutical.

Last week, TBS, a Japanese television network, reported that Kobayashi Pharmaceutical had sold red yeast rice ingredients to about 50 foreign and domestic food and beverage manufacturers.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance’s National Treasury Administration said on Sunday (March 24) that two local companies would be ordered to recall the Mio Premium Rose products.

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The authorities added that the two Taiwanese companies that had sold the sparkling sake would soon issue a product recall and ask consumers not to drink the beverage.

Macau authorities have similarly warned people not to consume sparkling sake.

“Under the Sale of Food Act, foods that are known to be unsafe for consumption should not be sold. Consumers who have purchased the implicated products should not consume it.

Those who have consumed the products and are unwell should seek medical attention. Consumers may contact their point of purchase for enquiries,” SFA added. /TISG

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