A recent court case in Nigeria has highlighted concerns that locally made soft drinks may be considered unsafe for human consumption elsewhere, as Ijeoma Ndukwe explains.
There has been uproar in Nigeria after it emerged that the company that manufactures Fanta and Sprite, the Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC), has been ordered by a court to place warning labels on its products, stating that they are unsafe when consumed alongside vitamin C.
The drinks are said by critics to contain high levels of the preservative benzoic acid and the colouring sunset yellow.
NBC is challenging the ruling.
The case has caused deepening concern in a country where Fanta, Sprite and Coca-Cola are probably the most widely consumed soft drinks.
Barbara Ukpabi owns a grill restaurant which serves local food in Oniru, Lagos. She says she might stop buying Fanta and Sprite for the restaurant and also has concerns about giving the drinks to her children.
"I was thinking of reducing how much I drink of it. I'll be thinking of drinking less of it or going to other substitutes like juice."
Although like many Nigerians, the habit is hard to break.
"I just had my lunch and I had Coke and water."
Security guard John Uloko didn't see the reports about the soft drinks in the newspapers but heard about it via WhatsApp and hasn't drunk any since.
'Flexing their muscles'The ruling was the result of a nine-year-long court battle initiated by Nigerian businessman Fijabi Adebo.
Nigeria's health ministry published a statement in response to the public outcry, reassuring Nigerians that the drinks are safe for human consumption.
However, the ministry advises that medicines are taken with water to help "prevent unexpected drug-food interactions".
Although the government has not spoken of enforcement, it "encourages" all bottling companies to include advisory warnings on all relevant products.
The Nigerian Bottling Company has appealed against the court ruling. It says the levels of benzoic acid in its soft drinks are "well within the levels approved" by both the national regulator and Codex Alimentarius, an international food standards body.
The company also says the ingredient levels set by countries for their food and beverages are influenced by factors such as climate, with drinks in hotter countries needing higher levels of preservative.
It also says there was "no proven case of negligence" or finding that the company had breached its duty of care to consumers.
The government's Consumer Protection Council has formally requested documents from the Nigerian Bottling Company ahead of an independent inquiry.
With an appeal in motion and a government inquiry under way, this case is far from over.