Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Coca cola And NBC To Go Under Inspection Over Soft Drinks Unfit For Human Consumption


Consumer Protection Council has directed Coca Cola Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian Bottling Company to subject their manufacturing processes to the Council’s inspection for a period of 12 months to ensure compliance with laid down safety standards and regulations or face prosecution.
The directive came as a result of the outcome of a recent investigation by the CPC, which revealed that cans of sprite soft drink manufactured by NBC under the licence of Coca Coca Nigeria Limited, were unfit for human consumption.
The Director General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, disclosed this at a press briefing on the ‘Investigation into Violation of Product Quality Standards by the Nigerian Bottling Company and Coca Cola Nigeria Limited’, in Lagos yesterday.
However, in a joint statement signed by Mr.Clem Ugorji Public Affairs & Communications Manager Coca Cola Nigeria Limited and Adeyanju Olomola Head, Public Affairs and Communications, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) and Coca Cola Nigeria Limited (CCNL) confirmed that the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) recently carried out a product complaint investigation involving both companies in respect of two short filled cans of Sprite.
The statement said that “each organization cooperated with the Council in the course of the investigation and provided the information available to it in varying respects including but not limited to quality assurance, product handling and consumer complaints resolution processes which have been updated over the years. 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. Nigerian Bottling Company Limited and Coca Cola Nigeria Limited hold the Council and, indeed, all regulators and stakeholders in high esteem and will continue to work with them to make any necessary improvement.
But the Director General Consumer Protection Council said “The Panel, after five hearings, held between September 2013 and February, 2014 substantiated the allegation of product defect and violation of the Consumer Protection Council Act, though the investigation was premised on two half filled cans of Sprite, it led to a plethora of findings, among which are: that the cans of Sprite are products of the Nigerian Bottling Company under license of Coca Coca Nigeria Limited; that the cans of sprite were defective and had health and safety implications for consumers;
“that Nigerian Bottling Company does not have a detailed written shelf life policy for dealing with expired products; that Nigerian Bottling Company’s grievance resolution policy does not cover instances where the consumer suffers physical injury from consumption, or compensation in instances where Replacement will be inadequate; at Nigerian Bottling Company’s supply chain management does not extend to retailers who the bulk of Nigerian consumers buy their products from; and that Nigerian Bottling Company’s traceability policy fails to’ effectively address the real purpose as the company often relies on information as to the place of purchase of the product. In view of all these, the Council made far reaching recommendations for system change in Nigerian Bottling Company and Coca Cola Nigeria Limited.
“To this effect, it has issued an Order, which gives clear directions for standard compliance in all areas that the companies have been found wanting.
The Order requires Nigerian Bottling Company and Coca Cola Nigeria Limited to:  subject their manufacturing process to the Council’s inspection for a period of 12 months to ensure compliance with safety standards and regulations; formulate and make available to the Council a Shelf Life Policy within 90 days to facilitate the removal of expired products from the market; review within 90 days their grievance resolution policy to : address compensation for injuries, or compensation in instances where replacement will be inadequate; review their supply chain management policy within 90 days to include retailers in order to minimise the distribution of defective, ‘ non conforming or expired products.  review within 90 days their traceability policy to make it easier for  the companies to track their products without necessarily requesting purchase information from the consumer”.

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