NIGERIA – The Nigerian Bottling Company (“NBC”) said it has received the report of investigation conducted by the Consumer Protection Council (“CPC”) to determine the levels of benzoic acid contained in its soft drinks.

The bottler of coca-Cola products in Nigeria said it was pleased with the CPC investigation as the laboratory analysis proved that the benzoic acid levels in its products meet permissible limits prescribed under the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) and with the International Food Safety limit set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The soda giant said that the CPC investigation report confirms the earlier findings by the Federal Ministry of Health in its public statement released on 17 March 2017 following a review of the matter by the ministry in consultation with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

The health ministry confirmed the safety of benzoic acid as a preservative and that Fanta and Sprite are safe for human consumption.

NBC said it requested for the lab results from CPC regarding the report of “significantly low and inconsistent levels” of benzoic acid found in small number of samples in order to conduct internal checks and report appropriately.

The soft drinks giant noted that Nigeria’s guideline levels for benzoic acid in soft drinks are among the lowest in the world, at 250mg/kg, compared to the tropical countries cited in the CPC investigation report, i.e. 1000mg/kg in Pakistan; 400mg/kg in Australia; 350mg/kg in Malaysia and 250mg/kg in Ghana.

The guideline level in the USA is 1000mg/kg.

NBC thanked the CPC for initiating the investigation, and for the speedy conclusion of the report, and for publicly making the reassuring news of its findings.

The company also commended the Federal Ministry of Health as well as NAFDAC and SON for taking prompt and collaborative action to establish the facts early on.

The company said it was equally grateful to those business professionals and civil society groups, as well as subject matter experts, who helped to educate the public on the facts.

It extended its deepest gratitude to the millions of Nigerians who continue to trust in the safety and quality of its products, as they have done since 1951.

It noted that the company’s commitment to product quality safety and customer satisfaction is unwavering and all its products are fully compliant with all Nigerian and international food safety standards.

May 3, 2017: Beverage Industry News