‎NAFDAC reacts to court ruling declaring Fanta, Sprite poisonous with Vitamin C

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

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has filed an appeal and a motion to stay execution of a judgement on Sprite and Fanta soft drinks.

An Igbosere High Court had ordered the Agency to compel the Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC, Plc, to carry a mandatory warning on its Fanta and Sprite products, stating that the contents should not be taken with Vitamin C in order to avoid poisoning.

The court berated NAFDAC for poor regulation of the products, popular among millions of Nigerians.

The judgement was delivered in a suit filed by Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited and Emmanuel Adebo against the NBC and NAFDAC.

The Court had awarded a N2 million cost against NAFDAC, declaring that the Agency failed Nigerians by certifying Fanta and Sprite fit for human consumption even when they were later tested and declared unfit for human consumption in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Adebo’s company had tried to export fanta and sprite bottled in Nigeria to the UK before British authorities seized and destroyed the product for being poisonous by containing excess levels of benzoic acid and sunset additives.
Benzoic acid is a white, crystalline powder with a faint, non-offensive odour.
Though it serves as a preservative, if used excessively, it causes cancer and has been linked to asthma problems and increased levels of hyperactivity in children.

Benzoic acid is also used to manufacture a wide variety of products such as perfumes, dyes, topical medications and insect repellents.
Sunset yellow is a dye that can be found in foods like orange juice, ice cream, canned fish, cheese, jellies, soft drinks and many medicines

It can also be dangerous for human health as it can cause allergies, hyperactivity, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting in some individuals.

The NBC however said the judgement was inaccurate and its products were safe.

“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,” the company said.

In her reaction, the Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Yetunde Oni, through a text message from Vienna, Austria, observed that the agency is a national regulatory authority and would react both scientifically and legally to the judgement.

“Our lawyer has filed an appeal and a motion to stay execution of action of the judgement also filed,” she said from the 60th session commission on narcotics drugs she is currently attending in Vienna.

The NBC had on Wednesday also appealed the court judgement saying it was not true that the drinks are poisonous when taken with Vitamin C.


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  • dami

    Good riddance to bad drinks NBC! and shame on you!
    Buy Nigerian to grow the Naira or buy Nigerian to kill yourself?
    Consumer protection needs to be a fierce regulator…all these food and drink manufacturers need to be whipped in line.

  • Omooba

    The fact is we do not have standards comparable to world acclaimed standards acceptable to the civilised world. So why glorify over NIS, SON or NAFDAC certifications if such products can not be passed in other climes. I pity the investor for suffering such a loss through the export deal. Nigeria can not force her dubious standards on any country, and that is the gospel truth. These are standards that can be bought as we all know and Nigerian consumers are worse of and in great danger.

  • arewethishopeless

    What a useless management !!!!! NAFDAC … NAFDAC …. NAFDAC …. This should leave the door wide open for NAFDAC management to be sued in civil and criminal terms (individually and collectively) for putting the lives of Nigerians at risk. So also NBC … Their foreign partners can also be sued in international courts ….

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  • Mentus

    As far as the British are concerned, nothing good can come out Nigeria so I am not surprised they want to deter anything being imported from Nigeria. After all how many people take vitamin C with Fanta. It will good to read NAFDAC response before blame is apportioned.

    • aisha ani

      The question is, did the plaintiff get approval from the British Food and Drug administration before spending over a million Naira on the products with the intent to export? Britain is not like Nigeria where you can just dump anything as long as you bribe someone, I say there is more to this.

  • OmoLasgidi

    NBC bottled their first coca cola bottle in 1953 i.e. 64 years ago, implying that Nigerians have probably been drinking their products for that long. And now there is noise and complex that British products are better? The question is if there are any evidences of a mass adverse effect on the population that can be proven? Nowadays, such allegations can be researched by almost anyone on the Internet, rather than speculations and baseless innuendos. And we think such actions will encourage foreign companies to establish in Nigeria?

  • Femi

    What I don’t understand is why a person or company will under whatever circumstancesexport a drink, like coca-cola product to Britain despiet that the same drink exists in Britain. Then I understand it is only sprite and fanta that were fingered; what about coca-cola. I don’t know whether the exported drinks included coca-cola. For a large amout of drinks such that it took 1million to export it, then other products will definitely be involved. I hope this is not an orchestrated plan aimed at this two products. Also according to NBC, the these products were produced within the recommeded quantity of the chemicals talked about. Lastly I’ll like to thank God because I’ve taken set of drugs that included ascorbion and ferrous with sprite and nothing happen.