Nigeria Reviews Soft Drink Standards, Develop Standards for Energy, Ginger Drinks

Dr. Barth Ugwu (standing) presenting the DG’s welcome address flanked by Dr. Mrs. Omolara Okunlola (Head, Food Group, SON); Prof. Segun Ayejuyo and other stakeholders.

The need for Nigeria to generate her own data on Benzene level in soft drinks in order to arrive at the safe maximum level of benzoic acid or opt for alternative preservatives has been re-emphasised.

These assertion was contained in a welcome address by the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Aboloma to the Technical Committee meeting on water, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks held in Abuja.

Represented by the Technical Assistant to the DG, Dr. Barth Ugwu, the SON Chief Executive posited that standards development and review are targeted among others at ensuring the health and safety of Consumers, as guide to manufacturers and Importers, as well as to promote fair trade practices.

He alluded to the importance of the five draft standards to be considered by the committee, stressing that they involve products that are consumed widely and frequently by the generality of people across all age and economic strata. The draft Standards are;

– Standard for Soft Drinks (for review)

– Standard for Energy Drinks

– Standard for Ginger Drinks

– Standard for Sparkling Fruit Drinks

-Standard for Fruit Squashes, Concentrate and Fruit Cordial Concentrates

Energy drink according to him, is one of the most highly consumed non-alcoholic drinks by between 30-50 percent of youths and adolescents (NCBI-Paediatrics: 2011), stating that in recent times, adverse health effects are being attributed to the rate of consumption of the drinks due to the caffeine and sugar contents in them.

This according to the SON DG underscores the reason for elaboration of the standard for energy drinks.

Mr. Aboloma charged the technical committee members to exercise great diligence in carrying out their task towards achieving the objective of setting standards that will adequately prescribe good quality and food safety requirements.

I implore you all to participate actively and freely express your concerns at every stage of the deliberations”, he said.

In his own remarks, Chairman of the Technical Committee, Professor Jide Alo represented by Prof. Segun Ayejuyo acknowledged the valuable contributions of the members through informed comments to the secretariat on the circulated drafts of the five standards under consideration and called for robust interactions that will ensure consensus, while having the safety and health of Consumers at heart.

He expressed the determination of the members to bring their vast and varied knowledge and wealth of experiences to bear on the deliberations and expressed the appreciation of the committee to the SON management for providing adequate secretarial support.

A cross section of participants at the Technical Committee Meeting.

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