Supplement Manufacturers Respond to Japan Tragedy

Three companies with ties to Japan weigh in on the effects of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emergency

By Natural Medicine Journal

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Essential Formulas Incorporated

As the tragic situation unfolds in Japan, Essential Formulas Incorporated’s primary concern has been for the safety of the Japanese people as well as Dr. Ohhira’s employees and their families. We can happily report that they are all safe and out of harm’s way.

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are manufactured in Okayama, Japan, which is more than 700 km from where the nuclear plant is located in Fukushima. Dr. Ohhira’s factory has not been affected by any concurrent radioactivity. The fermented paste that is used for the finished product currently being supplied to customers has been fermenting in vats for 3 years, so there is no concern of radioactive contamination. As there is sufficient stock of the finished product, there will be no disruption or delay in the delivery of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotic supplements.

“This is an evolving situation with new information coming in rapidly, and as such we are in constant communication with Dr. Ohhira and his colleagues and will continue to monitor the situation closely,” said Michael Schoor, Essential Formulas’ chief executive officer. “Regarding the product supply chain and safety of Dr. Ohhira’s products, we want to reassure our retailers and healthcare professional clients that we are staying abreast of all details and relaying them as we receive them from Japan.”

Dr. Ohhira’s facility has contamination meters on site that test the air daily; current levels as of March 15, 2011 were the same as they were on March 5, 2011—which is the same level found in the atmosphere on a normal day in Okayama.

Dr. Ohhira’s research facility and factory maintains Good Manufacturing Practice certification and routinely submits all products for independent testing to the Japan Food Research Laboratories (JFRL). The JFRL has always monitored levels of cesium-134, cesium-137, and iodine, which would indicate radioactive contamination and they will continue to do so. All probiotic capsules were sent for analysis on March 18th, 2011, and tested negative for radioactive contamination.

When manufacturing commences for a new lot of probiotic paste, safety and viability will be the top priority and all variables will be taken into consideration, including the growing area for all the crops that go into manufacturing Dr. Ohhira’s formulations.

Mushroom Wisdom, Inc.

Mushroom Wisdom, Inc. (MWI) would like to express their appreciation for the outpouring of concern received from the industry in regard to the recent earthquake and tsunami tragedy in Sendai, Japan. Mike Shirota, president of MWI, now resides in New Jersey but is originally from the Sendai area. We are pleased to report that his family and friends from tragedy-stricken Sendai are now safe.

Before the tragedy, Shirota had organized a Japan-US goodwill choral festival featuring the HAGI Choir from Sendai, to be held at Carnegie Hall in NYC on May 20. After the tragedy he considered cancelling the date. However, upon receiving word from HAGI Choir President Maki Suemitsu and several choir members that they still desired to make the trip, Shirota decided to go forward. He formed the Sendai Relief Fund to raise donations to aid in recovery, and he gave the concert its new name and purpose.

The HAGI Choir, led by acclaimed Music Director Mitsuharu Okazaki and comprised of the finest voices from tsunami-stricken Sendai, Japan, will sing at the Japan-US Chorus Charity Concert for Sendai at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium on Friday, May 20th, 2011 from 8 PM – 10:30 PM. Admission is free, but any donations to the Sendai Relief Fund will be greatly appreciated. For donations, free concert tickets, and more information please visit www.japanuschorus.com.

Although Mr. Shirota and other MWI staff members are originally from Japan, currently all of MWI’s mushrooms are grown in a pristine natural environment in the southern part of Zhejiang Province, China, without any pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. The harvested mushrooms are rigorously examined to ensure the highest levels of purity. Final manufacturing takes place at a pharmaceutical GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice)–certified manufacturer in the US, where stringent laboratory tests are again performed to reconfirm purity.

Kyowa Hakko Bio Co., Ltd.

Yamaguchi Production Center (YPC) is located in the Yamaguchi prefecture in the southwest of Japan—about 600 miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, located in northeast Japan. As of March 30, the environmental radiation index in Yamaguchi prefecture remains in the normal, long-term average range following the accidents triggered by the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami.

Following the events of March 11, Kyowa Hakko Bio Co., Ltd., established an emergency task force to evaluate potential future radioactive impacts on our products and investigate a program that should be applied for future counter measures to ensure consumer protection.

About the Author

Natural Medicine Journal is an electronic peer-reviewed journal and open access website dedicated to the field of integrative medicine.