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Monday, March 20, 2017

Poisonous Fanta, Sprite: Health Ministry attributes saga to environmental differences

… Defends NAFDAC, insists Coca Cola products safe for consumption
The Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) has offered defense on behalf of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) over the alleged poisonous Fanta and Sprite in the controversial difference environmental setting of benzoic acid limit introduced in these soft drinks in Nigeria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The latest response arose from the recent court judgement on the case filed by Fijabi Holdings and another versus Nigeria Bottling Company and NAFDAC, in which NAFDAC was mandated to direcdt all NBC and other bottling company to imprint a notice that taking the soft drink of Fanta and Sprite with Vitamin C is poisonous.

Director, Media and Public Relations at the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Akinola Boade, on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr. Isaac Adewole, after a joint meeting of NAFDAC, Standards Organisations of Nigeria (SON) and NBC, attributed the difference in standards of these additives to environmental conditions.

In a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet at the weekend, the Ministry said due to the different environmental conditions obtainable in the United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria, the standard for benzoic acid was set at a lower limit of 150 milegrame or kilogramme (mg/kg) for UK.

While in Nigeria, the Minister said, “it was set at 250mg/kg even below than that of Codex.”
He explained that as at time of production of that batch of drinks in question, Codex limit was 600mg/kg.

The minister pointed out that NAFDAC and SON regularly monitor the manufacturing practices of food industries and conduct laboratory analysis to ascertain continuous compliance with required national standards.

NaijaAgroNet was told that there was a routine inspection conducted at Nigeria Bottling Company by NAFDAC officers, last December, 2016, which was pronounced “satisfactory.”

Food products being imported into a country, the Ministry explained, 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.

The claimant, FMH said, did not obtain NAFDAC certification before export, otherwise, Fijabi would have been advised on the required standard of the destination country.

The Ministry further declared Coca-Cola products manufactured in Nigeria safe for consumption; “Yes, the Coca-Cola products manufactured in Nigeria are safe for consumption.”

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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