Drinking Fanta, Sprite with Vitamin C is toxic, Nigerian Court rules; slams NAFDAC

Fanta and Sprite [Photo: Kitchen Butterfly]
Fanta and Sprite [Photo: Kitchen Butterfly]

A Nigerian Court has ordered the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control to direct the Nigeria Bottling Company Plc., manufacturers of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks, to include a warning on the bottles of the product, that its content cannot be taken with Vitamin C.

Justice Adedayo Oyebanji of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, gave the order following a suit filed by a businessman, Fijabi Adebo, and his firm, Fijabi Adebo Holdings Ltd.

The legal action, which was instituted in 2008, had NBC and NAFDAC as defendants.

Mr. Fijabi’s lawyer, Abiodun Onidare, told the court that his client bought large quantities of different products from NBC for export to the UK but when they arrived at their destination, Fanta and Sprite failed UK Health Authorities’ (Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council’s Trading Standards Department of Environment and Economy Directorate) sample test for human consumption, as they became poisonous when mixed with Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).

The claimants demanded N15.1 million as special damages and N1.6 million being the money the NBC admitted it received from the claimants.

In its defense, the NBC, through its lawyer, T. O. Busari, said it was not negligent as claimed by the plaintiff, saying it has stringent quality control procedures to ensure that its products are safe for end-user consumption.

The NBC argued that the levels of the chemical components in its soft drinks are safe for consumption in Nigeria and that the claimants are not entitled to the recovery of damages arising from their illegal exportation of products meant for local distribution.

NAFDAC did not file any defense in the case.

Justice Oyebanji ruled that the knowledge of the Nigeria Bottling Company that the products were to be exported was immaterial to its being fit for human consumption.

“The court is in absolute agreement with the learned counsel for the claimants that soft drinks manufactured by Nigeria Bottling Company ought to be fit for human consumption irrespective of colour or creed,” he said.

“It is manifest that NAFDAC has been grossly irresponsible in its regulatory duties to the consumers of Fanta and Sprite manufactured by Nigeria Bottling Company.”

The judge said NAFDAC had failed Nigerians by its certification as satisfactory for human consumption, products which in the United Kingdom failed sample test for human consumption and which become poisonous in the presence of Ascorbic Acid ordinarily known as Vitamin C, which can be freely taken by the unsuspecting public with the company’s Fanta or Sprite.

“The court, in the light of the damning evidence before it showing that NAFDAC has failed to live up to expectations, cannot close its eyes to the grievous implication of allowing the status quo to continue as it is,” the judge said.

He ruled that, “That NAFDAC shall forthwith mandate Nigeria Bottling Company to, within 90 days hereof, include on all the bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks manufactured by the company, a written warning that the content of the said bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks cannot be taken with Vitamin C as same becomes poisonous if taken with Vitamin C.

“In consideration of the fact that this case was filed in 2008 and that it has been in court for nine years, costs of N2 million is awarded against NAFDAC. Interest shall be paid on the costs awarded at the rate of 10% per annum until liquidation of the said sum.”


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  • john

    Nawaoh, nigeria and substandard. Well, make real money @www.vitacash.net

  • thusspokez

    He ruled that, “That NAFDAC shall forthwith mandate Nigeria Bottling Company to, within 90 days hereof, include on all the bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks manufactured by the company, a written warning that the content of the said bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks cannot be taken with Vitamin C as same becomes poisonous if taken with Vitamin C.

    This judgement, which is a compromise makes no sense. Made in Nigeria Fanta and Sprite are still dangerous to drink, therefore they should be withdrawn immediately. Further, NAFDAC or the federal government should also bring a federal class suit against NBC for selling dangerous goods.

  • Omoba1

    This is a serious health issue here. I think NAFDAC should close the factory and subject the products to rigorous testing.

  • Joshua Lukas Maigana

    How many Nigerians care to look at a mere bottle before drinking? How many can read? This is a futile ruling.

    • aisha ani

      Thank you jare.

  • Temi Txa

    Nigerian Government should also make a demand to the UK Government to carry out QA/QC tests on Sprite and Fanta produce from the UK and check if their product will also be toxic for the consumers if taken with Vitamin C.
    The verdict from UK Government is not sufficient if they also carry similar product in their country.

    • thusspokez

      Fóólish and cynical appeal to patriotism. This is not about patriotism but the health of Nigerians

    • aisha ani

      Thank you for being the only one that can reason, I bet the retarded judge is still drinking Fanta.

  • PLAN A

    “The NBC argued that the levels of the chemical components in its soft drinks are safe for consumption in Nigeria and that the claimants are not entitled to the recovery of damages arising from their illegal exportation of products meant for local distribution.” I have tried so hard to understand why toxic levels of substances can be poisonous outside this country, but tolerated by the local population! Are we really human!!!!???? So what has happened to those that have consumed the combo since 2008?

    • Ted Ford

      You only need use your common sense. How many of you have since died from these drinks but attributed the cause of death to some old witch in your father’s village!

    • deltavoice

      Are you blaming NBC or their charge and bail lawyer.

      • thusspokez

        Who pays for the services of the ‘charge and bail lawyers’?

        • deltavoice

          Confirmed!

  • Dan maikoko

    In a case of weight versus exercise and sugar consumption an american MD, Robert H. Lustig, in his book “Sugar: the bitter truth” exclaimed that there is nine teaspoonfuls of sugar in a 35 cl bottle of coke, to burn it you need to mountain bike for eleven hours non stop! So the calories in and calories out argument for health and weight control no longer holds. These soft drinks are poisons whether manufactured in the UK or Nigeria. People should do the right thing and avoid them. In almost all cases what they describe as sugar in the label is actually High Fructose Corn Syrup a synthetic sweetener known to cause cancer, fatty liver, diabetes and obesity. HFCS is not found anywhere in nature and the golden rule of a healthy life is to avoid unnatural substances either on your skin or in your stomach.From pharmaceuticals to utensils if you can avoid it then dont go artificial, go natural.

  • Ted Ford

    This is only the NBC. Has any of you considered thousands of other products killing the population every minute in a country that has no sense or system of anything and where a common autopsy is a luxury?

  • ukoette ibekwe

    Sometimes there is something called drug drug interactions, drug food interactions, some of which are poisonous. I’m sure if these drinks fall into the category of drug food interactions that are poisonous. If it is then fanta and Sprite should be labeled as such and the company should be tasked with educating the public on the dangers. Besides, relevant health agencies should educate the public on these dangers.
    If the affected drinks are poisonous on their own then the company should be closed down until their products are certified fit for consumption.

  • Excellent judgment, in my opinion.