Stakeholder in the agricultural and food industry have criticized the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) for coming out to defend itself over the level of benzoic and sunset additives which was found in two the company’s product namely Fanta and Sprite
A judgment was given at the Lagos High Court where it was held that high levels of benzoic acid and sunset additives were found in the Fanta and Sprite drinks that being produced by NBC. The implication of this was that when these drinks became poisonous when consumed alongside vitamin C.
NBC was not the company to be on the wrong side of the law as NAFDAC, (a regulatory body that is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that food, drugs, and drinks passed through a quality check) got penalized by the court for declaring as fit for consumption, products discovered in the UK as turning poisonous when mixed with ascorbic acid which is also know as Vitamin C. A cost of ₦2 million was awarded against the NAFDAC.
NBC in a swift reaction to the issue denied that the drinks were poisonous. It issued a statement saying that “the UK standard limit benzoic acid in soft drinks to a maximum of 150 mg/kg. Both Fanta and Sprite have benzoic levels of 200 mg/kg which is lower than the Nigerian regulatory limit of 250 mg/kg when combined with ascorbic acid and 300 mg/kg without ascorbic acid and also lower than the 600 mg/kg international limit set by CODEX. Both benzoic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin c) are ingredients approved by the international food safety regulators and used by many food safety regulators and used in many food and beverage products in the world.”
According to AgroNigeria, stakeholders in the industry rejected the defense of NBC