…Develops standards for energy, ginger drinks
The need for Nigeria to generate her own data on benzene level in soft drinks in order to arrive at a safe maximum level of benzoic acid or opt for alternative preservatives has been re-emphasised. This was contained in a welcome address by the director – general, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), 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 said standards development and review were 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 emphasized the importance of the five draft standards to be considered by the committee, stressing that they involved products that were consumed widely and frequently by the generality of people across all age and economic strata. The draft standards include standard for soft drinks (for review), others to be developed are 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 per cent of youths and adolescents, stating that in recent times, adverse health effects were 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 reason for the elaboration of the standard for energy drinks. Aboloma charged the technical committee members to exercise great diligence in carrying out their task towards achieving the objective of setting standards that would adequately prescribe good quality and food safety requirements in line with international best practices. Participants in the technical committee meeting include representatives of Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST), Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN) and Consumer Protection Council (CPC) as well as major manufacturers of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in Nigeria.
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