Last week saw the voluntary recall in Japan of astaxanthin products containing ethoxyquin, a chemical preservative which is allowed in animal feed but not permitted in products to be consumed by humans.
The recall hit several major Japanese producers, including Suntory and DHC, and is estimated to have affected more than 180,000 bottles of the popular antioxidant sold in Japan.
However, Fuji Chemical Industries, which claims to be one of the world's primary producers of natural astaxanthin, was quick to distance itself from the recall. "Our astaxanthin products, AstaREAL and AstaTROL, produced by our subsidiary, MicroGaia, in Maui, Hawaii, were not involved in this recall and are 100 per cent free of ethoxyquin," it said in a statement.
Japanese supplement companies including Fancl, Nissui, Chuo Pharmaceutical and Morishita Jintan that used Fuji's AstaREAL as an ingredient were not involved in this recall. Fancl made an official statement on 4 April 2002 that its product, Multi-carotene & Astaxanthin, was safe and free of ethoxyquin.
Suntory, after recalling its astaxanthin products, said it planned to reformulate its entire line of astaxanthin products using Fuji's AstaREAL, Fuji claimed.