By Teddy Nwanunobi
Abuja (Sundiata Post) — After days of series of allegations and counter defense regarding the safe consumption of Coca-Cola products that are manufactured in Nigeria, the Federal Government, on Friday, declared that: “Yes, the Coca-Cola products manufactured in Nigeria are safe for consumption”.
It, however, advised Nigerians to take medicines with potable water.
“This would help to prevent unexpected drug-food interactions,” it added.
Arising from the recent court judgement on the case filed by Fijabi Holdings and another versus Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) -joined as a nominal party – the Minister of Health summoned a meeting of the Department of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to address the related issues.
The meeting found the followings:
“Both Benzoic acid and Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) are ingredients approved by International Food Safety regulators and used in many food and beverage products around the world.
“Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is the organ established by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) to set internationally recognised standards, codes of practice, guidelines relating to foods, food production, and food safety.
“Yes, the Coca-Cola products manufactured in Nigeria are safe for consumption in view of the following reasons:
“NAFDAC and SON regularly monitor the manufacturing practices of Food industries and conduct laboratory analysis to ascertain continuous compliance with required national standards.
“There was a routine inspection conducted at Nigeria Bottling Company by NAFDAC officers in December, 2016 which was satisfactory,” Director, Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Akinola Boade, wrote.
On the difference between the standard of Fanta and Sprite in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, she wrote: “With reference to the Codex standards, each country or region is permitted to adapt a standard/limit based on country specific scientific evidence such as environmental, storage and distribution conditions.
“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).
“Food products being imported into a country must comply with the relevant standards of the destination country. NAFDAC has processes in place to ensure products imported into the country are evaluated to ascertain compliance with required Nigeria Industrial Standards”.
She noted that the claimant did not obtain NAFDAC certification before export, otherwise, he would have been advised on the required standard of the destination country.
The Federal Government, therefore, advised: “In view of the above, we would like to advise all Nigerians to take medicines with potable water. This would help to prevent unexpected drug-food interactions.
“For the benefit of the health of all Nigerians, all bottling companies are encouraged to insert advisory warnings on all products as necessary”.