The Consumer Protection Council (CPC), has lambasted leading beverage maker, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and franchisee of its products, Nigerian Bottling Company, for offering defective products for sale at the detriment of consumers across the country.
Mrs. Dupe Atoki, CPC’s Director-General, reacted angrily following an investigation by the council arising from consumer complaints about “rusty bottle tops, rusty cans and foreign particles in beverage products of the Nigerian Bottling Company under licence of Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited.
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.”
According to her, “Although 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 the Nigerian Bottling Company does not have a detailed written shelf life policy for dealing with expired products; and that the 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.”
Atoki stated further that the council also found that NBC does not have a detailed written shelf life policy for dealing with expired products, and that the NBC’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.
The CPC, has therefore, made far reaching recommendations for system change in NBC and CCNL.
It ordered “remedial actions on all aspects, including that both companies subject their manufacturing process to the Council’s inspection for 12 months.
” This is to ensure compliance with safety standards and regulations, besides formulating, and making available to the Council a shelf life policy within 90 days, to facilitate the removal of expired products from the market.
“They are also to review within 90 days their grievance resolution policy to address compensation for injuries, or compensation in instances where replacement will be inadequate and 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.
Reacting, Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs & Communications Manager, CCNL said “as responsible organisations, 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 organisations also take a responsive approach towards satisfying customers and consumers.”
Adeyanju Olomola, Head, Public Affairs and Communications, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) said “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.”