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CPC recommends system change for NBC

by Business News Report

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has urged the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd to overhaul their bottling processes, following allegation of product defects and violation of its act. CPC Director-General, Mrs Dupe Atoki, said at a news conference in Lagos on the organisation’s investigation into violation of product quality standards by NBC and Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd in Lagos.

Atoki said that the panel set up between September 2013 and February 2014 to investigate the allegations had after five hearings substantiated the allegation based on two half filled cans of Sprite drinks.

She said that the cans of Sprite were defective and had health and safety implications for consumers. According to her, the cans did not have a verifiable shelf life, as a policy for consumable products. Atoki also said that the NBC’s grievance resolution policy does not cover instances where a consumer suffers physical injury from consumption or compensation, where replacement would be adequate.

The CPC boss said that NBC’s traceability policy failed to effectively address the real purpose as the company relied on information as to the place of purchase of the product.

She added that the council had prior to this complaint been informed of similar situations and other complaints such as rusty bottle tops, Atoki said that that while NBC cooperated with the council, Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd was hostile to the council and its proceedings.

Other complaints, Atoki said, included rusty cans and foreign particles in beverage products of the NBC under the license of Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd. She also said that the Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd  “failed, refused and neglected to attend, make deposition or produce documents in its possession.”

Atoki added that the council had issued an order which gave clear directions for standard compliance in all areas that the companies had been found wanting.

She said that the order required the two companies to subject their manufacturing process to the council’s inspection for a period of 12 months, to ensure compliance with safety standards and regulations. Others, she added are: “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 grievances 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 minimize 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 consumer.”

The council is empowered by the Consumer Protection Council Act Cap 25, Laws of the Federation, provide speedy redress to consumers’ complaints. It also has the mandate to remove hazardous product from the market, make an offending company to protect, compensate and provide relief to injured consumers among others. 

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