Recently, a high-court judge in Nigeria finally resolved a nine-year old lawsuit by ruling that popular soft drinks such as Fanta and Sprite can be “poisonous” under some circumstances. The Lagos court ruling may force international brands such as Coca Cola to stick health warnings on their products after judge Justice Adebayo Oyebanji ordered the Nigerian Bottle Company (local manufacturers of soft drinks) to put labels on the beverages that informs customers against taking them and vitamin C at the same time.
The court discovered that these drinks contain high levels of benzoic acid which can have deadly consequences when mixed with ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, which makes beverages such as Fanta and Sprite a public health hazard. The lawsuit was filed nine years ago by Nigerian businessman Fijabi Adebo. Adebo’s company tried to export the soft drinks to the UK in 2007, but the products were confiscated and destroyed by the United Kingdom, citing unsafe consumption. After this incident, Adebo filed a lawsuit against NBC, which was finally resolved a couple of weeks ago.
In the meantime, a Coca Cola spokesman recently said that “all the branded products are safe and comply with the regulations of the countries where they are sold” in a statement in “The Independent”. The company claims that soft drinks are produce under strict standards of quality and security and that the recipes are reviewed and developed in all parts of the world to meet the needs of the market as well as the local preferences. However, as we can see in this case, this is not the truth, and will probably be the reason of the impending health hazard stickers on the beverages.