- AFBTE Certifies Fanta, Sprite for Consumption
The Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) has refuted the claim that Fanta and Sprite from the stable of Coca Cola are not good for consumption. In a statement issued in Lagos, the association said the bottling company has been certified by the Federal Ministry of Health as being in compliant with relevant national regulations as well as international standards.
The association said the level of benzoic acid and ascorbic acid in Fanta as well as the benzoic content of Sprite produced and sold in the country by the Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC) are in compliance with the standards approved by all relevant national regulations and the international standards set by Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), a body established for the purpose of setting internationally recognised standards, codes of practice, guidelines relating to foods, food production and food safety by the United Nations through the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It reiterated that there was no truth in the claim that Fanta becomes poisonous when taken with Vitamin C, saying that for the risk factor to formally occur, the benzoate level must be above the Codex level of 250mg/kg in the presence of metal ions that act as catalysts with Vitamin C.
The level in contention here with regard to the said products was Fanta (188.64mg/kg; and Sprite (201.06mg/kg and 161.5mg/kg respectively, noting that the rejection of the Fanta and Sprite that were exported to the UK in 2007 was not because they were unsafe for human consumption as they met the Nigerian regulatory standard which, itself, was within the international food safety limit of 600mg/ kg set by Codex at the time.
Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited & Dr. Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo had in 2007 filed a suit at the Lagos State High Court against the Nigerian Bottling Company Plc (NBC) over rejection of the soft drink products they had procured from the NBC by the United Kingdom (UK) Food Inspection Authority and making claim of N3,000,000.00 ( Three million naira) only as the cost of instituting and prosecuting this suit against the Defendant but the Court in its Judgement delivered on the February 15, 2017, dismissed all claims against NBC and held that the company had not breached its duty to consumers and that there are no proven case of negligence against it (NBC).
The Court however, directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to mandate the NBC to include a warning on its bottles of Fanta and Sprite that its content cannot be taken with vitamin C as same become poisonous if taken with vitamin C.
NBC has since appealed this order. It stated that the NBC does not produce for export as its products are produced within the guidelines of the Nigerian Industrial Standards in conformity with global food safety standards.
It added that since NBC products are produced and consumed locally, it did not need to produce to the specification of UK standard as every country has its Codex standard. The Federal Ministry of Health had earlier said that NBC‘s products Fanta, Sprite, and Coke manufactured in Nigeria, are safe for consumption.