A Lagos High Court Judge ruled that Coca-Cola and its products could be poisonous.
According to this ruling, Coca-Cola and its products — including Sprite and Fanta — are affecting and endangering people’s health.
The high levels of benzoic acid and additives are considered to be a threat to people’s health, especially when they’re mixed with ascorbic acid. The common name for ascorbic acid is vitamin C.
Justice Adedayo Oyebanji, fined the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) with 2 million naira’s, which is approximately $6,300, because they didn’t follow health standards. Also, she ordered the Nigerian Bottling Company to put written warnings on Fanta and Sprite bottles saying that these drinks cannot be mixed with vitamin C.
“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 has failed the citizens of this great nation by its certification as satisfactory for human consumption products … which become poisonous in the presence of ascorbic acid.”
This ruling and judgment comes as a result of Lagos businessman’s Dr. Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo lawsuit against regulator NAFDAC and the NBC.
NBC is a member of Coca-Cola Hellenic group and they bottle Coca-Cola products in Nigeria.
Back in February 2007, he tried to export Coca-Cola products from Nigeria to the United Kingdom. There was a problem when UK authorities seized and destroyed that shipment because it had a high level of sunset yellow and benzoic acid. When combined with vitamin C, these substances could form the carcinogen benzene.
On the other hand, the lawyers of NBC told the judge that the products were not made for export.
Justice Adedayo Oyebanji rejected this defense.
“Soft drinks manufactured by Nigeria Bottling Company ought to be fit for human consumption irrespective of color or creed,” the judge said.
Also, we see double standards in this case because Coca-Cola has different levels of benzoic acid for Nigeria and for international consumption.
“The UK standards limit benzoic acid in soft drinks to a maximum of 150 mg/kg. Both Fanta and Sprite have benzoic levels of 200 mg/kg which is lower than the Nigerian regulatory limit of 250 mg/kg,” wrote Sade Morgan, legal, public affairs and communications director of NBC.
These limits were set by Codex, the international food standards body administered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“The permissible ingredient levels set by countries for their food and beverage products are influenced by a number of factors such as climate, an example being the UK, a temperate region, requiring lower preservative levels, unlike tropical countries.”
After this incident, the citizens are avoiding drinking Coca-Cola. Some of them are even calling for a total boycott of Coca-Cola.
If this is true, certain limits are different for some of the ingredients and this could present a huge blow for Coca-Cola, which is by far the most known brand in the whole world.
It basically means that their products don’t have the same quality everywhere, despite their claims.