Is Coca-Cola failing to take adequate responsibility of the quality and safety of their products being sold abroad?
One case in Nigeria would suggest otherwise, portraying Coca-Cola as a company bound by no moral obligation. In March 2017, a high court judge in Nigeria, Justice Adedayo Oyebanji, ruled that soft drinks under the Coca-Cola brand could be poisonous. This is due to the high levels of benzoic acid and additives found in some of the products- which can pose a risk to consumers if mixed with high levels of vitamin C. The judge ordered for the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) – who are the local manufacturer of the soft drinks, to place labels on the beverages, informing consumers against drinking them with vitamin C. The judge held NAFDAC, the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control responsible, fining them the equivalent of £5,115, stating, “It is manifest that NAFDAC has been grossly irresponsible in its regulatory duties to the consumers of Fanta and Sprite manufactured by Nigeria Bottling Company.”
Questions have arisen on the negligence on behalf of the Coca-Cola brand. The company responded to the ruling by saying that the claims are inaccurate and unsupported by science. As of yet, the company has not made a drastic change to the procedures that ensure their global safety and quality standards are not only recognised, but adhered to.
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola told The Independent, “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.”
Many believe that it is the responsibility of the Coca Cola company to ensure the safety of their products worldwide. Some suggestions include Coca-Cola sending foreign experts to certify the products in Nigeria safe for consumption.
Consumers world-wide put their trust in large companies like Coca-Cola because of their global presence and claimed high quality products. They respect the brand name and feed their money into the products. The brand should also respect them and their bodies- no matter the geographical context.
Whether or not the claims are scientifically proven, their response to this situation is in fact negligent. No attempts have been made as of yet to rectify the situation in Nigeria on behalf of the Coca-Cola company. Likewise, no preventative measures have been taken as of yet to stop this from happening in other countries worldwide.
I for one, agree with the idea that it is any brands responsibility to ensure that the high quality and safety standards of their products are globally reciprocated and manifested. Merely having regulations in place is not enough to ensure the safety of global consumers. The safety of a product should be thoroughly assessed and continually checked against its climate to ensure the safety of consumers world wide.
Although, I can acknowledge that the negligence on behalf of NAFDAC and the NBC was the ruling factor in this issue, I believe that it is only right that the Coca Cola company take responsibility of their customers, and look for new and impactful ways of preventing this from happening again.
Globally, they must hold their actors to account and ensure that their regulations are being adhered to. Consumers world-wide put their trust in large companies like Coca-Cola because of their global presence and claimed high quality products. They respect the brand name and feed their money into the products. The brand should also respect them and their bodies- no matter the geographical context.
Fisayo Eniolorunda , BA Politics and African Studies (year 2)