Supplement ingredient recalled after reports of kidney damage

A major Japanese pharmaceutical company is recalling health supplements containing a kind of yeast-fermented rice called "beni-koji."

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical says it has supplied the ingredient to roughly 50 other firms around the world.

It has issued a voluntary recall for three types of supplement containing beni-koji.

The move follows reports that some people developed kidney problems after taking products with the ingredient. It has been claimed effective in lowering bad cholesterol.

The Osaka-based drugmaker says it produces 18.5 tons of beni-koji annually, with 80 percent supplied to about 50 food and beverage companies.

It says none of them appear to have received reports of health problems from customers, but that two firms have issued voluntary recalls.

One is major beverage maker Takara Shuzo, which is recalling its "Mio Premium Rose" sake.

Online vendor Zero Plus is pulling back cheese crackers that contain the red yeast rice.

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has apologized and is asking people to stop using products containing its beni-koji.