The Federal Government has set up a national technical committee to examine recent court judgment on the rejection of some soft drinks exported from Nigeria to the United Kingdom.
Head of Public Relations of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Bola Fashina, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
A Lagos High Court had declared that National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) negligently failed Nigerian consumers by allowing manufacture and sale of soft drinks that were unfit for human consumption.
Although the Federal Government later declared that the products of the Nigerian Bottling Company were safe for human consumption, it encouraged bottling companies in Nigeria to insert advisory warnings on their products as necessary.
Fashina said that the committee was set up after a meeting of the Department of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health; NAFDAC and SON.
He said that the terms of reference for the committee was to determine the safety of benzoic acid in foods and if its use in food could be replaced.
“The committee will ascertain if the level of benzoic acid in carbonated drinks can be further reduced below 250mg/kg in Nigeria and determine the frequency of monitoring of the safety levels of benzoic acid in foods.
“They will also give any other advice that the National Technical Committee may deem necessary,’’ Fashina said.
He said that members of the committee were drawn from the Department of Chemistry, University of Lagos, the Food and Drugs Section of the Ministry of Health, and SON.
Others members were from NAFDAC, Consumer Protection Council, Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers and representative of Civil Society Organisations.
Fashina said that the committee’s findings would form data for consideration in future review of the Nigerian Industrial Standards for carbonated drinks, which provided the benchmark for products’ quality in the country.
He added that the committee had two weeks to summit its report to the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.