After nine years of struggle, a Nigerian court was finally able to label Fanta and Sprite as being poisonous, the carbonated drinks being considered unfit for human consumption. The high levels of benzoic acid and sunset yellow coloring make the drinks a ticking health bomb.
The Dangers of Fanta and Sprite Were Discovering During a Routine Custom Check
Back in 2007, Fijabi Adebo, the owner of a Manchester shop, procured a shipment of Fanta and Sprite from the Nigeria Bottling Company. However, his plans of filling up his shelves with the popular carbonated drinks were highjacked by officers of the UK Customs who were concerned that the drinks were not authentic and confiscated the entire batch.
The British Health Authorities then proceeded on testing the products, finding them unfit for human consumption, destroying the entire batch. Adebo was enraged and decided to sue the Nigeria Bottling Company in order to win back his money. The NBC refused to take responsibility for the incident.
Not wanting to give up, Adebo expanded his case against the NAFADAC. Approximately 10 years after the initial incident, the high court of Lagos decided against NAFADAC and decreed that the company must attach warning labels to their products. The ruling is being disputed by the company, the labels failing to make an appearance.
The Health of Nigerians Is as Important as That of Europeans
Adebo is fighting to bring European health standards to the African country. The man is infuriated at the thought that food products considered subpar in Europe are legal and safe in Nigeria. His fight against the NBC brought awareness on the health standards of the country.
‘We should not have a product that is considered substandard in other European countries.’
Benzoic acid, the compound that extends the shelf life of carbonated drinks is one of the ingredients that is shortening the lives of Nigerians. According to local scientists, when benzoic acid is combined with ascorbic acid – aka Vitamin C – benzene is born. Benzene is a toxic substance long associated with leukemia and other forms of blood cancer.
Researchers say that the NBC cannot claim that its products are safe for consumption as long as there are no studies to show the acceptable levels of benzoic acid. For the moment, Nigerians are advised to stay away from the drinks.
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