Although they are safe for consumption, Fanta and Sprite should not be used to take any medicine, the federal government has said.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said the two beverages, manufactured by the Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC) are safe for human consumption but cannot be taken with any drug.
The minister stated these on Friday, after a meeting with the Department of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to address the concerns raised over the drinks by a judgement of a Lagos High Court.
The Court had ordered NAFDAC to direct the Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC) Plc to include a warning on the bottles of the products that the contents cannot be taken with Vitamin C.
The judgment was on a suit filed by a Lagos-based businessman, Emmanuel Adebo, and his company, Fijabi Adebo Holdings Limited, against NBC Plc and NAFDAC.
In his suit, Mr Adebo urged the court to declare that NBC was negligent to its consumers by bottling Fanta and Sprite with excessive levels of benzoic acid and sunset additives.
He had tried to export Nigeria-produced Fanta and Sprite to the UK, where they were described as poisonous by authorities there and destroyed.
Benzoic acid is a white, crystalline powder with a faint, non-offensive odour. Though it serves as preservative, if used excessively causes cancer and has been linked to asthma problems and increased levels of hyperactivity in children.
Benzoic acid is also used in the manufacture a wide variety of products such as perfumes, dyes, topical medications and insect repellents.
Sunset yellow is a dye that can be found in foods like orange juice, ice cream, canned fish, cheese, jellies, soft drinks and many medicines. It can also be dangerous for human health as it causes urticaria, rhinitis, allergies, hyperactivity, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting in some individuals.
NAFDAC on Thursday said it has filed an appeal and a motion to stay execution of action on the judgement.
The NBC, bottlers of Coca Cola products in Nigeria, has also said it is appealing the judgement.
Credit: Nike Adebowale (Premium Times)