Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) has received the report of the investigation conducted by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) on the levels of Benzoic acid contained in our Fanta and Sprite brands of soft drinks.
We are pleased that the CPC investigation report confirms that the Benzoic acid levels in the products comply with the permissible limits prescribed under the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) and with the international food safety limit prescribed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The CPC investigation report corroborates the earlier findings by the Federal Ministry of Health in its public statement issued on March 17, 2017, following a review of the matter in consultation with the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON). The Health Ministry confirmed the safety of benzoic acid as a preservative and that Fanta and Sprite are safe for consumption.
NBC has requested information from CPC regarding the report of “significantly low and inconsistent levels” of benzoic acid found in a small number of samples in order to conduct internal checks and report appropriately. We confirm that Nigeria’s guideline levels for benzoic acid in soft drinks are among the lowest, at 250mg/kg, compared to the tropical countries cited in the CPC investigation report, i.e. 1000 mg/kg in Pakistan; 400 mg/kg in Australia; 350 mg/kg in Malaysia and 250 mg/kg in Ghana. The guideline levels in the US is 1000mg/kg.
We thank the CPC for initiating the investigation, for the speedy conclusion of the report and for publicizing the reassuring news of its findings. We also commend the Federal Ministry of Health as well as NAFDAC and SON for taking prompt and collaborative action to establish the facts early on.
We are equally grateful to those business, professional and civil society groups, as well as subject matter experts, who all helped to educate the public on the facts. Our deepest gratitude goes to the millions of Nigerians across the country who continued to trust in the safety and quality of our products, as they have done since 1951.
NBC’s commitment to product quality, safety and customer satisfaction is unwavering and all our products are fully compliant with all Nigerian and international food safety standards.