HARMFUL SPRITE: CPC READS RIOT ACT TO COCA-COLA, NBC

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The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) yesterday ordered the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited and Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited to provide a Shelf Life Policy for their products in the country to facilitate the removal of expired products from the market within 90 days.

CPC also ordered the NBC to subject its manufacturing process to its inspection for a period of 12 months to ensure compliance with standards and regulations, and a review within 90 days of the company’s grievance resolution policy to address compensation for injuries suffered by consumers of its products.

It also called for a review of the company’s supply chain management policy within 90 days to include retailers in order to minimise the distribution of defective or expired products, as well as the review of the policy that would make it possible for each of the products to be tracked without information from the consumers.

The directive is coming on the heels of a recent investigation by the CPC, which revealed that cans of Sprite manufactured by NBC, under the licence of Coca-Coca Nigeria Limited, were unwholesome for human consumption.

Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki said investigation carried out on the company’s facilities led to findings that some practices by the companies were detrimental to the health of the consumers, including the discovery that the NBC had no detailed written shelf life for dealing with expired products.

she said the council, in accordance with the Consumer Protection Council Act, commenced an investigation into the complaint on September 6, 2013, concluding it in February 2014.

“Pursuant to a consumer complaint received by the CPC regarding two half-empty cans of Sprite, products manufactured by NBC under the licence and authority of Coca Cola, the Council in accordance with its Act, investigated the complaint and found among other things, that the cans of Sprite were defective and had health and safety implications for consumers.”

According to her, while the NBC cooperated with the council in the investigation, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, in contravention of applicable law, “elected to adopt a rather hostile and flagrant approach to the council and its proceedings by failing, refusing, neglecting to attend, make depositions or produce documents in its possession.”

Coca- Cola promptly issued a statement rebuffing the CPC claim. In their reaction, the company expressed commitment to quality standards, adding however that information regarding high quality standards were made available to the council, saying “It is regrettable that the Council’s conclusions and recommendations do not appear to have acknowledged the information.

“As responsible organizations, NBC and CCNL take all matters relating to products very seriously and remain committed to maintaining the highest international quality management and food safety standards and certifications. Because consumers are at the heart of everything we do, both organizations also take a responsive approach towards satisfying customers and consumers,” according to a release jointly signed by  Adeyanju Olomola and Clem Ugorji of NBC and Coca-Cola respectively.

By: Oriade Ayomide

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