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The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has set up a panel of experts to investigate the controversies surrounding the level of benzoic and ascorbic acid in the soft drinks being produced by the Nigerian Bottling Company.

Professor Adewole said, the Federal Government had convened a group of experts, including food scientists and nutritionists, to access the safety of preservatives being added to the beverages.

The Minister said, he will also meet with officials of the Standards Organization of Nigeria.

According to him, “A group of experts have been convened to immediately investigate and submit a report. I have also requested a meeting with SON. The issue goes beyond the legal aspects of the court verdict. It is about morality.

“Nigerians need to know that we will put their safety first. The questions are: Is the Coca-Cola produced in Nigeria safe? Is the acidity level acceptable? What is the difference between Coca-Cola products available in Nigeria and the United Kingdom?

“Nigerians are justifiably angry as it concerns the recent verdict of a case involving an exporter. I have instructed NAFDAC to liaise with SON to address Nigerians immediately concerning the safety of Coca-Cola products made locally.”

Currently, the Lagos State High Court had ordered NAFDAC to direct the NBC to include a warning on the labels of Fanta and Sprite bottles that the products could not be taken with Vitamin C.

Meanwhile, the National President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Bartholomew Brai, stated that the internationally approved benzoic acid level for the preservation of beverages was 600mg.

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