Benson Idahosa University, BIU, Benin City, Edo State, has faulted the Federal Government’s declaration that Fanta and Sprite were good for consumption, insisting that the information or data provided by the government on the beverages fell short of addressing the safety concerns raised in court.
Recall that a Lagos High Court had ordered the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to compel the Nigeria Bottling Company, the manufacturer of Fanta and Sprite, to include a written warning label that the content of the two products should not be taken with Vitamin C.
At a media briefing held in the institution, some scientists at the BIU, led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ernest Izevbigie, raised concern over the clean bill of health given to Nigerians to consume Fanta and Sprite, saying that as an ivory tower, the institution owed the society a responsibility to provide expert opinion on the matter.
Prof Izevbigie, who is a professor of Biochemistry, said answers provided to questions such as the presence and amount of colourant in Fanta, the presence and concentration of benzoic acid or sodium benzoate in the two beverages and the presence and concentration of benzene that results from conversion of benzoic acid to benzene, were not satisfactory.
He said that the colourant used in Fanta, the yellow sunset, had been implicated in cytotoxicity, carcinogenesis, allergies and hyper activity in children when the right amount is not used.
On benzoic acid, he said the Federal Ministry of Health has explanation to give on why standard given for it in soft drinks was put at 250mg/kg as opposed to 150mg/kg that was obtainable in the United Kingdom and Ghana.
Prof Izevbigie, who noted that though the Nigerian standard was high owing to high temperature and that it still falls within the international standard, said pasteurization and the use of carbon dioxide can achieve the same goal as the use of high benzoic acid without the added health risks.
Source: Daily Times