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Nigerian Judge Rules that Coca-Cola Drinks Are ‘Poisonous'

The soda company says there is no scientific basis to these claims.
Photo via Flickr user SoxFanInSD

The fact that kids are drinking soda by the bathtub in the UK and North America has obviously raised health concerns.

Everyone knows these drinks are bad for you, but we can all agree that soda is not poison, insofar as it is will not (immediately) kill you and is not used to murder people. But for judge Adedayo Oyebanji, who recently made a ruling on whether Coca-Cola products were fit for human consumption, the sweet stuff produced in one Nigerian factory was downright "poisonous."


According to local reports, the gavel fell in a Lagos courtroom earlier this month after businessman Dr. Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo filed a lawsuit against the regulatory National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC).

The lawsuit claimed that large quantities of Coca-Cola, Fanta Orange, Sprite, Fanta Lemon, Fanta Pineapple, and soda water that Adebo purchased to export and sell were flagged by European authorities because some had excessive levels of known carcinogens sunset yellow (a food dye) and benzoic acid, which can be "poisonous" when mixed with vitamin C. As a result, Adebo said, he was unable to sell the Sprite and Fanta he bought from NBC.

The judge ordered NBC to place written warnings on Fanta and Sprite bottles and awarded costs of two million Naira (USD $6,350) against the NAFDAC for not properly warning consumers about the dangers of mixing sunset yellow and benzoic acid with vitamin C.

"It is manifest that NAFDAC has been grossly irresponsible in its regulatory duties to the consumers of Fanta and Sprite manufactured by NBC," the judgement reportedly said. "NAFDAC has failed the citizens of this great nation by its certification as satisfactory for human consumption products (…) which become poisonous in the presence of ascorbic acid [Vitamin C]."

Judge Oyebanji also stood up for the inalienable human right for all to enjoy soda, free of discrimination. "The court is in absolute agreement with the learned counsel for the claimants that consumable products ought to be fit for human consumption irrespective of race, colour or creed," his judgement said.

READ MORE: Meet the Coca-Cola-Obsessed Woman Who Made Her House Into a Soda Shrine

Coca-Cola, for its part, told MUNCHIES that the ruling, or any claim that their products cannot be consumed with vitamin C, is scientifically unfounded.

"Recent claims that The Coca-Cola Company's Fanta and Sprite beverages are unfit for consumption when combined with Vitamin C are inaccurate and unsupported by science. All our products are safe and strictly adhere to regulations in the countries where they are sold while complying with our Company's stringent global safety and quality standards."

They also referred us to a statement from the Ministry of Health in Nigeria on the matter, and the issue of Vitamin C and poison has been relegated to the Facts & Rumors section of their website, which addresses other common rumors, like whether or not a child's stomach will explode after combining Mentos and Coke. (It won't, by the way.)