Concerned by reports alleging that some soft drinks in the country could be dangerous to health, Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi on Tuesday banned the serving and consumption of Coke, Sprite and Fanta at government functions in the state.
The directive was given by the governor during a meeting with traditional rulers and town union executives in the state.
This follows after a Lagos State High Court in a suit between Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited and Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo against the Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, purported that Fanta Orange and Sprite may be hazardous if consumed with vitamin C.
The court stated that the drinks may contain high levels of two additives, benzoic acid and sunset yellow, which is dangerous for human consumption.
The Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC, while debunking the allegations maintains that the amount of the chemicals in its products, including Fanta and Sprite, were within Nigerian regulatory standards.
An investigation by the Consumer Protection Council, CPC also found out that the level of benzoic acid in Fanta and Sprite were within the Nigerian approved standard.
Instead, the CPC, found that benzoic acid levels in two other non-NBC products, Lucozade and Mirinda, had much greater contents than that approved by Nigerian regulators.
The CPC has therefore called for fresh investigation of all soft drinks sold in Nigeria.
The confusion on the drinks status may have informed the decision of the Ebonyi governor.
Mr. Umahi on getting to the governor’s lodge, venue of the Tuesday meeting, noticed the soft drinks on the tables and he immediately he was seated, requested for the microphone while still standing.
He then asked the ushers to remove all bottles of coke, sprite and fanta from the hall stating that they are dangerous to health.
“I don’t want these brands of soft drink to be served in any government function again”, he warned.
Immediately, the ushers as well as the protocol officers evacuated the drinks from the tables out of the hall.