Reactions continue to trail court’s judgment against NBC’s Fanta, Sprite

Reactions have continued to trail a High Court judgment that Fanta and Sprite produced by the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Plc contain poisonous substance.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Lagos High Court, Igbosere had on Monday ordered the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to compel NBC to include a written warning that the contents of the bottles cannot be taken with Vitamin C.

The court warned that taking Fanta and Sprite with Vitamin C is poisonous, adding that the chemical components are present in the products.

Justice Adedayo Oyebanji, who delivered the judgment then awarded a cost of N2 million against NAFDAC for failing “to live up to expectations’’.

A Lagos-based businessman, Dr Fijabi Adebo and his company, Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited, had filed a suit against NBC and NAFDAC.

The plaintiffs had urged the court to declare that NBC was negligent and breached the duty of care owed to its customers and consumers in the production of what he argued was contaminated Fanta and Sprite soft drinks.

According to the plaintiffs, the soft drinks contain excessive “benzoic acid and sunset’’ addictive.

Fijabi also urged the court to direct NAFDAC to carry out laboratory tests of all the soft drinks and allied products of the company.

This, he said was to ensure and guarantee safety of the products manufactured by NBC.

Following the judgment, some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday urged the Federal Government to sanction NBC Plc for failing in its responsibility to warn Nigerians against consumption of the affected products.

The residents, who spoke to NAN in separate interviews, also urged the Federal Government to take necessary steps to safeguard the health of Nigerians.

Mr John Adeniyi, an undergraduate of the University of Abuja, said the judgment came too late as the affected drinks may have claimed the lives of unsuspecting Nigerians.

“I think the best thing for government to do is to close down the company and award capital punishment to the company.

“This will serve as a deterrent to other people who engage in such businesses using substances that are dangerous to people’s lives,’’ he said.

A house wife, Mrs Babatunde Ademole, said that NBC Plc should be sanctioned.

According to her, the judgment also indicted NAFDAC for failing to live up to its statutory responsibilities by taking measures to prevent the poisonous products from entering the markets.

“I don’t think the warning alone is the best decision, I think government should give a capital punishment to the company and this matter should not be taken lightly.

“Do we know how many people have died over the years because of the substance they have consumed from Fanta and Sprite.”

Miss Oyelade Nike, a graduate of Micro Biology, said that the warning given was not the solution, saying the components in vitamin` C’ may also be found in other drugs.

Dr Taiwo Sarah, a pediatrician at Confidence Maternity and Clinic, Kubwa, Abuja urged the Federal Government to take measures to ensure that all drinks were safe for human consumption.

“NAFDAC should make sure it tests all products before they are allowed to be sold in the markets,’’ she said.

Sarah also urged the Federal Government to strengthen the agency by providing the necessary equipment it needs to perform effectively well. (NAN)

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