The Ebonyi State Government has become the first State in Nigeria to restrict the consumption of Coca-Cola products in the state.
Concerned with the recent ruling by a Lagos State High Court against the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) on the alleged health effects of consuming Fanta and Sprite, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi on Tuesday issued an order, banning the serving and consumption of Coke, Sprite and Fanta at government functions in the state.
The order came during a meeting the governor held with traditional rulers and town union executives in the state.
The governor ordered the removal of Coke, Sprite and Fanta on seeing them displayed on tables at the Governor’s Lodge, the venue of the meeting.
“I don’t want these brands of soft drinks to be served in any government function again,” he said.
A Lagos High Court recently ruled against NAFDAC and NBC in a suit filed by Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo and his firm Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited, that Fanta Orange and Sprite may be hazardous to health if consumed with Vitamin C.
The court ruled that the drinks may contain high levels of benzoic acid and sunset yellow, which may be dangerous for human consumption.
However, NBC maintained that its soft drinks were safe as the level of the said additives in its drinks were within the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) approved regulatory level.
Also, a recent investigation by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) found that the level of benzoic acid in Fanta and Sprite were within Nigerian approved regulatory standard. Instead, the CPC investigation found that other soft drinks not manufactured by NBC (Lucozade, Mirinda) contained higher levels of benzoic acid above the regulatory standards.
The CPC in its report called for a regulatory standards review of all soft drinks produced in the country.
Since the CPC report was made public, Suntory Food and Beverage Nigeria Limited, manufacturer of Lucozade has come out to defend the integrity of its brand, refuting CPC’s claim that its drink contained high levels of benzoic acid above the Nigerian Industrial Standard approved level. The soft drinks firm stated that Lucozade does not contain benzoic acid and is safe for human consumption.