Food scientists, technologists back FG on Fanta, Sprite
The Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) has supported the Federal Ministry of Health’s endorsement of the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC’s) products-Fanta and Sprite.
In a statement, jointly signed by its national president, Dr. Dahiru Adamu and the vice president, Mr. E. Oluwole Toye, the food scientists noted that as an informed stakeholder on the subject matter, the institute was aware that the science of benzene formation from interaction between benzoic acid and ascorbic acid is based on the provision of specific conditions such as presence of ultra-violet light and high temperature of about 60 degrees Celsius.
They argued that science is fact based and there has not been any reported incidence or that these two conditions are prevalent in the Nigerian environment.
The duo said the institute is fully aligned with the public statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Health on the subject matter which clarified the issues and unequivocally confirmed that Benzoic acid is globally certified by the Codex Allimentarius Commission (CODEX) as a safe preservative used generally in food and beverage products around the world.
According to the statement, “NIFEST also agreed that the Nigerian Industrial Standards for benzoic preservative for soft drinks is 250mg/kg and well within the international CODEX standard of 600mg/kg.
“That Nigeria and the UK, just like every other country, are at liberty to set their respective national standards referencing the CODEX standard and taking into consideration their peculiar environmental and other realities.
“That the results of tests carried out on the NBC products in question (Fanta and Sprite) by the UK Customs authorities in 2007 and by Nigeria’s National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in December 2016 showed that the products were in compliance with the country’s regulatory standards for benzoic levels and are therefore safe for human consumption,” the statement noted.
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