The Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi has banned serving of coke, sprite and fanta soft drinks at government functions in the state.
Umahi gave the directive on Tuesday, April 18 at a meeting with traditional rulers in the state, Premium Times reports.
The governor was said to have become agitated after sighting the brands as he entered the governor lodge venue of the meeting and immediately ordered ushers to evacuate the drinks.
“I don’t want these brands of soft drinks to be served in any government function again,” the report quoted Umahi as saying.
While the governor did not state any reason for his decision, it may not be unconnected with recent concerns over the health risk of the products for human consumption.
Safety Record Newspaper recalls that Justice Adedayo Oyebanji of the Lagos High Court had on March 13, 2017 ordered the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to mandate the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) PLC – makers of coke, fanta and sprite – to include a written warning that the content of the bottles cannot be consumed with Vitamin C.
The judge ruled that the soft drinks become poisonous when consumed with Vitamin C, which unsuspecting members of the public could consume together.
The judgment was sequel to a suit brought against NAFDAC and NBC by Fijabo Adebo Holdings Ltd in which the plaintiff claimed that NAFDAC failed in its duty of care to consumers by certifying Fanta and Sprite products safe for human consumption in Nigeria while the same products were confiscated and destroyed in the United Kingdom for failing to meet sample test for human consumption.
The products were said to have been impounded in the UK for containing abnormally high levels of “benzoic acid and sunset yellow” additives.
The court also held that NAFDAC failed Nigerians in certifying the products safe for drinking in Nigeria, and awarded a cost of N2 million against the agency.
However, the Federal Ministry of Health and Consumer Protection Council (CDC) have come out to certify the products safe for human consumption in Nigeria because the level of benzoic acid in them was within Nigerian approved standards, a position that NBC has maintained since the court judgement was passed.