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I read with dismay the unfortunate statement credited to the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. David Umahi on Tuesday, 18th April, 2017, banning ‘Coke and Fanta’ from being served at State functions. The Governor gave the executive order when he met with traditional rulers at the Government house, Abakaliki, saying the drinks were dangerous to health. “Remove Coke and Fanta from the tables. Protocol officers take note. The drinks are dangerous to health. from henceforth,they should not be served again in my state functions” he said.

The questions are:
a) ” On what scientific background did he based his arguments?
b) Is he aware of the recent laboratory tests conducted by the Consumer Protection Council,(CPC) on 65 samples of various soft drinks that included Fanta Orange, Sprite and Coke gathered from the open market in eight locations within the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, and the level of the Ascorbic Acids contained in Coke and Fanta, products of Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) were certified to be within the limit approved by the relevant regulatory authorities in Nigeria (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Standard Organization of Nigeria and Nigerian Institute of Standard) and declared safe for Nigerian consumers?

Except the Governor want us to believe that Ebonyi State is not part of Nigeria.

The Director-General of the Consumer Protection Council, Mrs. Dupe Atoki said while the Nigerian Institute of Standards (NIS) limit for benzoic acid is 250mg/kg, when combined with Vitamin C and 300mg/kg without Vitamin C, test conducted at the Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), a laboratory under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the test found that benzoic acid levels in Fanta Orange ranged from 5.09mg/L to 197.0mg/L while that of Sprite ranged from 2.82mg/L to 239.0mg/L indicating that both soft drinks were confirmed safe for Nigerian consumers as they contained benzoic acid within the limit approved by NIS The statements from the Council stated that National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) have been informed of the investigation and have recommended regulatory action and review of the ‘benzoic acid’ limits in soft drinks as the current standard, which has been in existence since 2008 is overdue for review.

I can confirm this laboratory test results to be true and sacrosanct as I am a Food Scientist! I am a Food Technologist!! I am happy to be a Food Entrepreneur!!!.
And I will never support any act that will jeopardize the health of an average Nigerian consumers. I have been drinking this products for a long time and I have never experienced any health challenges since it’s consumed in moderation.

This is what we have been preaching at FoodpreneurNews, that “Food Safety is everyone’s responsibility” And with the support of the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, together, we can make food safe for the citizenry.

I am making this passionate appeal to him to rescind this order banning the consumption of Coke and Fanta soft drinks at State functions as a matter of urgency as I am convinced that he was fed with the wrong information and wrongly advised. It is never too late for him to made the amendments before it is too late, this will show him to be a good and a responsive leader. He need to consider the multiplier effects of this order on the business environment for a state that is struggling to meet up with others.

FoodpreneurNews is a publication of Foodpreneurs Publishing Company;
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Join us today to make our food safe!
Food safety is everybody’s responsibility!!
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About The Author

Rasaq Oke

Rasaq Oke hold a Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) Honours degree in Food Science & Technology from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. He is a seasoned Food Technologist and Agribusiness expert with wide and rich industry experience that cut across reputable organization like Guinness Plc, Crown Cork and Seal, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals (now Neimeth Pharmaceuticals), Livestock Feeds Plc. and Tantalizers Plc. He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FOODDOTCOMACADEMY SERVICES, Managing Consultant with RESPITALITY CARE COMPANY (RCC), and Publisher/ CEO of FOODPRENEURS PUBLISHING COMPANY, the publisher of FOODPRENEURNEWS, a print and online food magazine ( Mr. Oke is an accomplished food entrepreneur, consultant, administrator, instructor, and facilitator. He is a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) and the Head,-Editorial Board of the NIFST Food Forum Magazine; An Executive Member of the Nigeria Association of Agricultural Journalist (NAAJ). He is an Full Member and Secretary of the Membership, Certification and Education Committee of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Training and Development (NITAD). He a a Media and Communication Consultant to the Lagos State Fadama Coordination Office (SFCO) and the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) in addition to being a Technical Partner to the Lagos State Consumer Protection Authority (LASCOPA). He is married with children and loves playing table tennis as well as travelling.

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