Facts on Benzoic Preservative in Fanta and Sprite
Here are the facts regarding the Lagos State High Court pronouncement stating that soft drinks
containing benzoic acid, a widely used preservative, if taken with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
becomes poisonous, here are the facts:
The benzoic and ascorbic acid levels of all Coca-Cola products, including Fanta and Sprite,
produced and sold in Nigeria are compliant with the standards set by CODEX, the joint
intergovernmental body responsible for harmonizing food standards globally as well as the
national standards approved by Nigerian regulatory authorities. There is no truth in the report
that these products would become poisonous if consumed alongside Vitamin C.
The UK standards limit benzoic acid in soft drinks to a maximum of 150 mg/kg. Both Fanta and
Sprite have benzoic levels below 200 mg/kg which is lower than the Nigerian regulatory limit of
250 mg/kg when combined with ascorbic acid and 300 mg/kg without ascorbic acid and are also
lower than the 600 mg/kg international limit set by CODEX.
The wrong perception emanating from the media reports that Fanta and Sprite are unsafe
simply because their levels of benzoic acid are not within the UK standards, even though both
products are well within the Nigeria and the CODEX levels, is not only unfounded but
undermines the entire food and beverage industry in Nigeria which is regulated by the same
ingredient levels approved by the regulatory bodies for the country.
The recent court order relating to this matter has been appealed by NBC.
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