CPC Gives Fanta, Sprite Clean Bill of Health, Calls for Review of Industry Standards
The four-week controversy on safety of Sprite and Fanta, both product brands of Coca-Cola may be getting to its expiration as the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has joined other government agencies to declare both products compliant with the global regulatory standards (CODEX) and the Nigerian Regulatory Standard set by NAFDAC.
In the Council’s findings over Benzoic acid levels in Fanta and Sprite, CPC stated two brands that have been in the eye of the storm were found to contain levels that were within the NIS regulatory standard.
The CPC disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday on the outcome of its investigation into possible safety issues in Fanta, Sprite and other select soft drinks, strongly canvassing for regulatory review and actions for safer soft drinks in Nigeria.
The Council’s investigation came on the heels of public outcry and consumers’ apprehension following the action at the Lagos State High Court in Suit between Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited, Dr Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo and Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, which alleged that Fanta Orange and Sprite may have the potentials to be hazardous due to its incompatibility with the Benzoic Acid Standards in the United Kingdom.
The director general of CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, who disclosed that NAFDAC and SON have been informed about the outcome of the investigation, stated that the Council has also recommended regulatory action and review of the “Benzoic Acid limits in soft drinks as the current standard, which has been in existence since 2008 is overdue for review”, particularly with the requirement for reviews pegged for every five years.
According to her, the approved NIS limit for Benzoic Acid is 250mg/Kg when combined with Ascorbic Acid, also known as Vitamin C and 300mg/Kg without Ascorbic Acid, while that of “Sunset Yellow as specified by Codex Alimentarius Commission and NAFDAC is 100mg/Kg, which is similar to standards in China, South Africa and Middle East”.
She pointed out that the results of the tests, which were done by SHESTCO revealed “Benzoic Acid levels in Fanta Orange as ranging from 5.09mg/L – 197.0mg/L; Sprite 2.82mg/L – 239.0mg/L; Mirinda, a product of 7UP Bottling Company 0.56mg/L – 330.9mg/L; and Lucozade formerly produced by Glaxo SmithKline 2.26mg/L – 323.53mg/L”.
The CPC boss further disclosed that the laboratory results also revealed that the “levels of Sunset Yellow in thirty-two samples of Fanta Orange products were within the range of 23.1mg/L -35.5mg/L, while those of Mirinda ranged between 26.1mg/L and 34.0mg/L and those of Lucozade ranged from 22.7mg/L –30.0mg/L.”
She pointed out that the Council also found that Benzoic Acid levels in some of the sampled soft drinks which were obtained from the open market, recorded extremely low levels of 0.56mg/L to 2.26mg/L and that the results also showed isolated cases of Mirinda and Lucozade with Benzoic Acid levels of 330.9mg/L and 323.53mg/L respectively, which are above the NIS limit.
Also in the light of the high level of Benzoic Acid found in isolated cases of Mirinda and Lucozade tested, she said the Council has called for further regulatory investigative analysis, action and review in the levels of the additive in the products.
The director general disclosed that CPC, in commencing its investigation, obtained from the open market in eight locations within the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria,65 samples of soft drinks, made up of Fanta Orange, Sprite, Mirinda and Lucozade and that these samples were sent to Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), a laboratory under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, for the analysis of the levels of Benzoic Acid and Sunset Yellow in the products.