By Akin Kuponiyi
A Lagos High Court, Igbosere, Lagos State, south west Nigeria has ordered the National Agency For Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to forthwith mandate Nigeria Bottling Company PLC, manufacturers of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks, to include a written warning that the content of the bottles cannot be taken with Vitamin C.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Adedayo Oyebanji, the court warned that taking Fanta and Sprite with Vitamin C is poisonous.
Drinking Fanta, Sprite with Vitamin C is toxic, Nigerian Court rules ..
The court also declared that NAFDAC has failed the citizens of Nigeria by its certification as satisfactory for human consumption, products which in the United Kingdom failed sample test for human consumption and which became poisonous in the presence of Ascorbic Acid ordinarily known as Vitamin C, which can be freely taken by unsuspecting members of the public with Fanta and Sprite.
The court also awarded a cost of N2 million against NAFDAC.
The judgment of the court was sequel to a suit filed by a Lagos businessman, Dr Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo and his company, Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited against the Nigeria Bottling Company Plc and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The plaintiffs urged the court to declare that the Nigeria Bottling Company was negligent and breached the duty of care owed to their valued customers and consumers in the production of contaminated Fanta and Sprite soft drinks with excessive “benzoic acid and sunset” addictive.
Dr Fijabi also urged the court to direct NAFDAC to conduct and carry out routine laboratory tests of all the soft drinks and allied products of the company to ensure and guarantee the safety of the consumable products, produced from the Nigeria Bottling Company factory.
In an amended statement of claim filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Abiodun Onidare, on behalf of the claimants, he alleged that sometime in March, 2007 Fijabi Adebo Holdings company purchased from Nigeria Bottling Company large quantities of Coca-Cola, Fanta Orange, Sprite, Fanta Lemon, Fanta Pineapple and Soda Water for export to the United Kingdom for retail purposes and supply to their customers in the United Kingdom.
When the consignment of the soft drinks arrived in United Kingdom, fundamental health related matters were raised on the contents and composition of the Fanta and Sprite products by the United Kingdom Health Authorities, specifically the Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council’s Trading Standard Department of Environment and Economy Directorate.
The findings of the said United Kingdom were also corroborated by the Coca-Cola European Union and products were found to have excessive levels of “Sunset Yellow and Benzoic Acid “which are unsafe for human consumption.