Following the spotlight……List of South Korean recalled krill oil brands

Dear friends. 

It has been amazing the interest shown by stakeholders about Tharos’ news on South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety recalling several krill oil brands for not complying with minimum health and sanitary regulations.  

The list of the recalled brands can be see here – South Korea – Non Conforming Krill Oils List.

It is long known that solvent-extracted krill oils risk to have solvent residues above regulations, becoming solvent contaminated. Some of the recalled brands had non-approved solvents, as well as one artificial antioxidant. The latter is applied to stabilize krill meals.

Dried meals are currently used to solvent-extract krill oils, in on-land factories, several months after the meal was manufactured at-sea.

The South Korean health authority (KFDA) inspection total 12 krill oil brands recalled; 5 containing ethoxyquin, 7 containing solvents that are either banned and/or above standard (hexane, acetone, ethyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol).

1) Ethoxyquin
Standard value 0.2 mg/kg. Detection amount confirmed 0.5 mg/kg to 2.5 mg/kg. This is an artificial antioxidant used to stabilize krill meals from deterioration  at-sea, on-board factory trawlers. These dried meals are later taken to on-land factories to extract the oil using solvents. If Ethoxyquin is present in the oil, means that the krill meal used to extract the oil was not food-grade. Ethoxyquin is applied on krill meals that are used as an aqua-feed ingredient, only for the countries that has not banned it.

2) Extraction solvents
a) Ethyl acetate, which cannot be used for oil extraction. It was found to have a minimum of 15.7 mg/kg and a maximum of 82.4 mg/kg in 3 brands, and 8.1 mg/kg and 13.7 mg/kg in 2 other brands, respectively. 

b) Hexane, two brands exceeded the standard (5 mg/kg), with 51 mg/kg and 1,072 mg/kg detected, respectively.


1) Krill 100 – Manufacturer (location): Healing Co., Ltd. (Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do). Nonconforming item;  Ethoxyquin(0.5mg/kg).

2) Krill 58 Super Soap Krill Oil – Manufacturer (location): Nature BF (Gimpo-si, Gyeonggi-do). Seller (location): Nature BF (Gimpo-si, Gyeonggi-do). Nonconforming item; ethoxyquin (2.5mg/kg).

3) Antarctic Krill Oil 500 – Importer (location): NJT Origin (Haeundae-gu, Busan). Nonconforming item; ethoxyquine (0.5 mg/kg).

4) Clean Krill Oil 1200 – Importer (location): Seumum Commerce (Nowon-gu, Seoul). Nonconforming items; Isopropyl alcohol (8.1 mg/kg).

5) Ultra Max Krill Oil 58 – Importer (location): Our Nature (Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do). Seller (location): Nature Garden (Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul). Nonconforming item; ethoxyquine (0.7 mg/kg).

6) Blue Ocean Krill Oil – Importer (location): Black Onyx (Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do). Nonconforming item; isopropyl alcohol (13.7 mg/kg).

7) Krill Oil – Importer (location): HLT (Songpa-gu, Seoul). Nonconforming item; ethyl acetate (15.7 mg/kg).

8) Krill Oil 1000 – Importer (location): Health House (Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul). Nonconforming items; ethoxyquin (1.4mg/kg).

9) Super Power Krill Oil 56 – Importer (location): Natural Samyuko Co., Ltd. (Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do). Nonconforming item; hexane (1,071.9mg/kg).

10) Zinofin Krill Oil – Importer (location): RKM Tech Co., Ltd.(Seocho-gu, Seoul). Seller (location): Koi (Namdong-gu, Incheon). Nonconforming item; hexane (51.0mg/kg).

11) Premium Krill Oil 1000 – Importer (location): B Health Korea (Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do). Nonconforming item; ethyl acetate (19.6 mg/kg). 

12) Newbrian Krill Oil – Importer (location): UK Healthcare (Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul). Nonconforming items; ethyl acetate (82.4 mg/kg).

Although one krill oil manufacturer is shown in one brand, there is no clarity whom krill oil producers are.

USA Pharmacopeia on Dietary Supplements and Residual Solvents, plus European Guidance on Residual Solvents help understand the risk imposed on human health on such solvent.