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BE WARNED!! FG Releases 6 Important Findings From Fanta and Sprite [MUST READ]

The Federal Ministry of Health has certified Coca-Cola products manufactured in Nigeria safe for consumption.

The Ministry stated this on Friday in a statement by its Director, Media and Public Relations Mrs Akinola Boade on behalf of the Minister after a meeting with the Department of Food and Drug Services, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) following a recent court order.

 

A Lagos High Court in its judgement on a case filed by Fijabi Holdings and another versus Nigeria Bottling Company and NAFDAC ruled that Fanta and Sprite when taken with Vitamin C is poisonous.

It asked NAFDAC to compel the Nigerian Bottling Company, makers of Coca-Cola products to include a warning label warning consumers not to take Fanta and Sprite with Vitamin C.

However the Ministry after the meeting with the concerned agencies said a routine inspection conducted at Nigeria Bottling Company by NAFDAC officers in December, 2016 which was satisfactory

It stated that risk assessment was conducted to ascertain maximum limits of food additives acceptable in foods.

The assessment takes into consideration the environmental, storage and distribution conditions as well as the shelf life of food products, while NAFDAC and SON regularly monitor the manufacturing practices of Food industries and conduct laboratory analysis to ascertain continuous compliance with required national standards.

The full findings of the meeting is as follows:

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  1. Both Benzoic acid and Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) are ingredients approved by International Food Safety regulators and used in many food and beverage products around the world.
  2. Are levels of additives introduced as preservatives within specification?
  • Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is the organ established by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to set internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines relating to foods, food production, and food safety.
  • In the case of Benzoic acid, the standard set by Codex was 600mg/kg until recently reviewed to 250mg/kg and adopted in 2016. (CODEX STAN 192-1995 revised 2015 and 2016).
  • With reference to the Codex standard and other relevant documents, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) as the standard setting body in Nigeria in consultation with technical experts and relevant stakeholders elaborated the standard of benzoic acid in soft drinks to be at 250mg/kg based on the National climatic and storage conditions. This standard has been in existence since 1997 and revised in 2008. (NIS 217:2008)
  • 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.
  • These levels are in compliance with both the Codex and Nigeria Industrial Standards.
  1. Are Coca-Cola products manufactured in Nigeria safe for consumption?
  • Yes, the Coca-Cola products manufactured in Nigeria are safe for consumption in view of the following reasons:
  1. Risk assessment was conducted to ascertain maximum limits of food additives acceptable in foods.
  2. This takes into consideration the environmental, storage and distribution conditions as well as the shelf life of food products.
  3. NAFDAC and SON regularly monitor the manufacturing practices of Food industries and conduct laboratory analysis to ascertain continuous compliance with required national standards.
  4. There was a routine inspection conducted at Nigeria Bottling Company by NAFDAC officers in December, 2016 which was satisfactory.
  5. Why is there 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.
  • The claimant did not obtain NAFDAC certification before export, otherwise, he would have been advised on the required standard of the destination country.
  1. In view of the above, we would like to advise all Nigerians to take medicines with potable water. This would help to prevent unexpected drug-food interactions.
  2. 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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