[CONSUMER BRANDS] POISONOUS FANTA AND SPRITE; APPEAL COURT OVER RULES JUDGEMENT TO LABEL SOFT DRINKS AS POISONOUS.

[CONSUMER BRANDS] POISONOUS FANTA AND SPRITE; APPEAL COURT OVER RULES JUDGEMENT TO LABEL SOFT DRINKS AS POISONOUS.

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Thursday, 20 July 2017
CONSUMER FORUM

The Nigerian Bottling Company (“NBC”), bottlers of Coca-Cola products in Nigeria suffered a legal setback in its bid to stop the execution of a judgement by a Lagos High Court which declared Fanta and Sprite to be poisonous soft drinks when consumed with vitamin C.

 

In a judgement delivered on February 15, a Lagos High Court dismissed all claims against the NBC and held that the company had not breached its duty of care to consumers and that there was no proven case of negligence against it, In the judgement delivered on February 15, 2017, the Lagos High Court dismissed all claims against the NBC and held that the company had not breached its duty of care to consumers and that there was no proven case of negligence against it.

 

“In the same judgement, the court directed NAFDAC to mandate the NBC to include a warning on its bottles of Fanta and Sprite that its contents cannot be taken withVitamin C as it could be poisonous. This order was premised on the fact that the products contain the preservative, benzoic acid. The NBC has since appealed this order.”

 

“The UK limits benzoic acid in soft drinks to a maximum of 150mg/kg. Both Fanta and Sprite have benzoic levels of 200mg/kg, which is lower than the Nigerian regulatory limit of 250mg/kg when combined with ascorbic acid, and 300mg/kg without ascorbic acid, and also lower than the 600mg/kg international limit set by CODEX.

 

“Both benzoic acid and ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, are ingredients approved by international food safety regulators and used in many food and beverage products around the world.

 

“These two ingredients are also used in combination in some of these products within levels, which may differ from one country to another as approved by the respective national food and drug regulators, and in line with the range prescribed by CODEX.

 

“The permissible ingredient levels set by countries for their food and beverage products are influenced by a number of factors such as climate, an example being the UK, a temperate region, requiring lower preservative levels unlike tropical countries,” it added.

 

“Given the fact that the benzoic and ascorbic acid levels in Fanta as well as the benzoic acid level in Sprite produced and sold by the NBC in Nigeria are in compliance with the levels approved by all relevant national regulators and the international level set by CODEX, there is no truth in the report that these products would become poisonous if consumed alongside Vitamin C,” a Coca-cola counsel  Olatunde Busari (SAN) had said.

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