Following the controversial order by a Lagos high court that National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and control (NAFDAC) should mandate Nigeria Bottling Company PLC to include on all bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks a written warning that the content of the said bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks cannot be taken with Vitamin C, the federal government has said all bottling companies are encouraged to insert advisory warnings on all products just as it explained why there is difference between Nigeria’s soft drinks and that of others.
The FG gave this advice in a statement the Federal Ministry of Health, FMOH, 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 on the court’s order.
In the statement signed by the Director Press of the Ministry, Mrs. Boade Akinola,, the FG urged Nigerians to take medicines with potable water to help prevent unexpected drug-food interactions.
Declaring that Sprite and Fanta are safe for human consumption, it 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 explained while there is difference between Nigeria’s soft drinks and that of the UK.
It said, “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.”