Japan: 471 Develop Wheat Allergy (66 Get Seriously Ill) After Using Popular ‘Green-Tea’ Face Soap

471 develop wheat allergy after using popular ‘green-tea’ face soap (Mainichi, Nov. 15, 2011)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A total of 471 people have developed a wheat allergy after using a type of popular green face soap and some of them have become seriously ill, health ministry officials said Tuesday, citing a report by the producer.

Yuuka Co. began recalling the soap called “Cha no Shizuku” (Drip of Tea) in May and has said the soap now on the market is safe as it does not contain the agent that caused the allergic symptoms.

According to the official citing an accident report by the company, 66 people among the total were taken to hospital after developing serious conditions including becoming unconscious.

Yuuka, based in Onojo, Fukuoka Prefecture, sold about 46.5 million units of the old type of the soap, touting it as the country’s best-selling face wash in 2009. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has called on buyers of the old products not to use them and to return them to the maker.

Separate from Yuuka’s report, the ministry has received reports from medical institutions that 49 people have developed similar serious allergic symptoms. In 19 cases the ministry could not rule out the possibility that the use of the soap triggered the symptoms, the officials said.

Meanwhile, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan said it had received a total of 938 complaints as of Tuesday about health damage caused by the soap.

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