Justice Adedayo Oyebanji of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, has ordered the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to direct the Nigeria Bottling Company Plc., to include a warning on the bottles of the product stating that Fanta and Sprite cannot be taken with Vitamin C.
The order came following a suit filed by one Fijabi Adebo and his company, Fijabi Adebo Holdings Ltd, with NBC and NAFDAC as defendants.
Mr. Adebo’s lawyer, Abiodun Onidare, told the court that his client bought large quantities of soft drinks from the NBC for export to the United Kingdom. But when they arrived the UK, Fanta and Sprite failed UK Health Authorities test for human consumption, as they were poisonous when mixed with Ascorbic Acid.
Adebo also demanded the sum of N15.1million for damages and N1.6million which was the amount the NBC said they received from him for the products.
T.O Busari, the NBC lawyer, said that the levels of the chemical components in its soft drinks are safe for human consumption in Nigeria and that the businessman was not entitled to any damages arising from his illegal exportation of the products meant for local consumption.
The judge however stated that; “The court is in absolute agreement with the learned counsel for the claimants that soft drinks manufactured by Nigeria Bottling Company ought to be fit for human consumption irrespective of colour or creed.”
“It is manifest that NAFDAC has been grossly irresponsible in its regulatory duties to the consumers of Fanta and Sprite manufactured by Nigeria Bottling Company.”
“The court, in the light of the damning evidence before it showing that NAFDAC has failed to live up to expectations, cannot close its eyes to the grievous implication of allowing the status quo to continue as it is,” the judge added.
Justice Oyebanji ruled;
“That NAFDAC shall forthwith mandate Nigeria Bottling Company to, within 90 days hereof, include on all the bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks manufactured by the company, a written warning that the content of the said bottles of Fanta and Sprite soft drinks cannot be taken with Vitamin C as same becomes poisonous if taken with Vitamin C.
“In consideration of the fact that this case was filed in 2008 and that it has been in court for nine years, costs of N2 million is awarded against NAFDAC. Interest shall be paid on the costs awarded at the rate of 10% per annum until liquidation of the said sum.”