The Federal Government has declared that products of the Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC, including Sprite and Fanta are safe for human consumption even as it encouraged all bottling companies in Nigeria to insert advisory warnings on their products as necessary.
These are contained in the findings of a report issued after a meeting of the Department of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Abuja.
In a statement, the Federal Ministry of Health, FMOH, noted: “Yes, the Coca-Cola products manufactured in Nigeria are safe for consumption taking into consideration the environmental, storage and distribution conditions as well as the shelf life of food products.”
The statement, signed by the Director Press of the Ministry, Mrs Boade Akinola, said the risk assessment report conducted to ascertain maximum limits of food additives acceptable in foods showed that the levels of benzoic acid in Fanta (1 batch) and Sprite (2 batches) presented by the claimant in the court are 188.64mg/kg, 201.06mg/kg and 161.5mg/kg respectively and are in compliance with both the Codex and Nigeria Industrial Standards.
The statement further noted that NAFDAC and SON would regularly monitor the manufacturing practices of food industries and conduct laboratory analysis to ascertain continuous compliance with required national standards.
According to the statement, there was a routine inspection conducted at Nigeria Bottling Company by NAFDAC officers in December, 2016 which was satisfactory.
Continuing, the statement explained that the difference between the standard of Fanta and Sprite in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, with reference to the Codex standards, each country or region is permitted to adapt a standard/limit based on country specific scientific evidence such as environmental, storage and distribution conditions.
“Benzoic acid as a preservative prevents the growth of microorganisms which thrive more at higher climatic temperatures like in Nigeria. Due to the different environmental conditions obtainable in the UK, the standard for benzoic acid was set at a lower limit of 150mg/kg while in Nigeria it was set at 250mg/kg even below that of Codex (as at time of production of that batch; Codex limit was 600mgkg).
“Food products being imported into a country must comply with the relevant standards of the destination country. NAFDAC has processes in place to ensure products imported into the country are evaluated to ascertain compliance with required Nigeria Industrial Standards.”
Observing that the claimant did not obtain NAFDAC certification before export, the statement stated that the claimant would have been advised on the required standard of the destination country.
Further, Nigerians were urged to take medicines with potable water to help prevent unexpected drug-food interactions.
For the benefit of the health of all Nigerians, all bottling companies are encouraged to insert advisory warnings on all products as necessary.
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