A Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, yesterday ordered the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to compel Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC) Plc, manufacturers of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks, to include a written warning that the drinks should not be taken with Vitamin C.
Justice Adedayo Oyebanji gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit by a Lagos businessman, Dr. Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo, and his firm, Fijabi Adebo Holdings Ltd., against NBC and NAFDAC.
The court warned that taking Fanta and Sprite with Vitamin C is poisonous and awarded N2 million against NAFDAC for failing “to live up to expectations”.
It said NAFDAC failed Nigerians by certifying as satisfactory for human consumption, products which, in the United Kingdom (UK), failed sample test for human consumption and became poisonous in the presence of Ascorbic Acid, known as Vitamin C.
The plaintiffs urged the court to declare the NBC was negligent and breached the duty of care owed its customers and consumers in the production of Fanta and Sprite with excessive “benzoic acid and sunset” additive.
Fijabi also urged the court to direct NAFDAC to conduct routine laboratory tests of all soft drinks and allied products of the company, to guarantee their safety.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Abiodun Onidare, in an amended statement of claim, alleged that sometime in March 2007, Fijabi Adebo Holdings purchased large quantities of Coca-Cola, Fanta Orange, Sprite, Fanta Lemon, Fanta Pineapple and Soda Water from NBC for export to the UK for retail purpose.
“In consideration of the fact that this case was filed in 2008 and has been in court for nine years, N2 million is awarded against NAFDAC. Interest shall be paid on the cost awarded at the rate of 10 per cent per annum until liquidation of the said sum,” Justice Oyebanji said.