The Ministry of health has said that Fanta and Sprite, products of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc (NBC) and other soft drinks manufactured by the same company are safe for Nigerian’s consumption because these products have been closely scrutinized and found to be in compliance with Nigerian and international safety standards.
This was contained in a press statement published on the Ministry’s website on Friday.
The statement followed a meeting summoned by the Minister of health, Isaac Adewole, and attended by officials 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.
See full text of press release below:
Take all drugs with potable water
The ministry of health, however, warns that all drugs should be taken with potable water. This is to address concerns that Fanta and sprite interact with the ascorbic acid in Vitamin C to produce harmful by-products in the body.
“We would like to advise all Nigerians to take medicines with potable water. This would help to prevent unexpected drug-food interactions,” the statements reads.
Makers of the affected soft drinks, Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC had earlier reassured Nigerians that its product are safe for consumption as it complies with all regulatory standards.
Why UK declared Fanta and Sprite unsafe for consumption
With reference to the confiscation of Fanta and Sprite in the UK, the statement explains, “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).”
The Ministry noted that Fijabi Holdings, the company that sued NBC and NAFDAC over the issue of excessive levels of preservatives in Fanta and Sprite, “did not obtain NAFDAC certification before export, otherwise, he would have been advised on the required standard of the destination country.”