Abuja – The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has issue the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) a seven-day ultimatum to provide the Council detailed information on two of its soft drink products, Sprite and Fanta.
This was in a bid to determine the suitability of the products and protection of consumers.
The Director General (CPC) Mrs Dupe Atoki, who disclosed to journalists on Thursday in Abuja said that Council was keenly interested and extremely concerned about the questions that have arisen from, and on account of a judgement whether or not the products could be consumed alongside Vitamin C.
“The reason for the CPC’s interest is not far-fetched,” pointing out that for years, “Fanta, Sprite and Coca Cola have arguably and consistently been the most widely consumed beverages in Nigeria.
“The spectrum of consumption is also perhaps the widest, with the consumption starting as early as age four and far into adult years.
“In addition, Vitamin C is one of the most consumed medications for both children and adults, both as matter of prescription or over the counter and, or as dietary supplement. Essentially both the NBC products and Vitamin C are routinely consumed in Nigeria with absolutely no restrictions to access and availability.
“The key questions in this investigation among others are, one, is Sprite and Fanta at the time of production potentially harmful to consumers when consumed with vitamin C?
“If yes, what is NBC’s obligation to consumers and has NBC fully discharged that obligation? And finally, pursuant to the CPC Act, the council is interested in discovering what steps if any NBC took after the testing and confistication of Fanta and Sprite by the United Kingdom authorities.” Mrs Atoki explained.
She said the Council expected “full cooperation of NBC in this very urgent matter of national interest and the protection of consumers”.
In a letter obtained by our correspondent, titled, “Re:Fijibi Adebo Holdings LTD & Anor VS Nigerian Bottling Company Limited & Anor: Suit No LD/13/2008,” and dated March 15, 2017, CPC writes: “it has come to the notice of the Consumer Protection Council that NBC was involved in litigation before the High Court of Lagos state with respect to a quality /safety issue of some of your products, specifically Fanta and Sprite.”
The Council, further writes: in view of this discovery, “this is a matter of urgent national interest and grave concern to the Council and its primary role of protecting consumers.
Accordingly, “the council is immediately opening. An investigation regarding the issue. This letter serves as notice to you of this investigation and a demand for the council pursuant to extant provisions of the CPC Act Cap 25, LFB 2004. Broadly and specifically, the council refers to, and relies on section 2a, b,c,d,i and j; 3,8,9,10,12,13,14,15,17 and 18.”
CPC therefore “request your organisation to provide it with information on: identify every witness that NBC intended to present at a trial, including all witnesses who testified and others intended but who did not testify. In addition, each witness’s position and role in NBC must be identified in the their submission.
“Any and all quality assurance or laboratory tests conducted by NBC or commissioned by NBC, or that have come within the control of NBC with respect to Fanta and Sprite between 2008 and March 2017.
“Identify the custodian of composition and component of Fanta and Sprite in the UK and US,” CPC stated in the letter despatched to NBC.
“You are to provide the information above within seven (7) days, and in any case, no later than Thursday 23rd March 2017”.