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VENTURES AFRICA – Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and it licensed bottling firm, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) may be sanctioned by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) due to complaints on the quality of the products sold to consumers
The complaints involved separate cases of half-empty cans of sprite, a product manufactured by NBC under the licence of Coca Cola.
According to Dupe Atoki, Director-General of CPC, following receipt of the complaint, “the Council in accordance with its Act, investigated the complaint and found among other things, that the cans of Sprite were defective and had health and safety implications for consumers.”
NBC and Coca Cola Nigeria Limited (CCNL) subsequently issued a statement to debunk such allegations, stating that “as responsible organizations, 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.”
However after five sittings of a panel set up by CPC, from September 2013 to February 2014, the findings were again validated, with further discoveries uncovered.
NBC did not have a detailed, written shelf life policy with regards to expired goods and its grievance resolution policy was not inclusive of cases where the consumer suffers physical injury as a result of consumption, or compensation in the case where there would be inadequate replacement, Atoki stated.
NBC’s supply chain management also excluded retailers who a large number of Nigerian consumers buy their products from and the company’s traceability policy did not meritoriously address the purpose because the company basically relies on information on where the product can be purchased.
To this effect, NBC and CCNL were ordered to submit their manufacturing processes for inspection which will last for 12 months to ensure that safety standards are strictly obeyed and followed.
Also, the companies’ shelf life policy, grievance resolution policy, traceability policy and supply chain management policy must all be reviewed within 90 days.
Both organisations said in the statement given that they will continue to work with the regulators and other investors to ensure that their products and systems are improved.
CCNL and NBC have been ordered to pay compensation to the consumer whose complaint engineered the investigation.
“It is worth noting that disobedience to the Order of the Council is punishable, upon conviction, with three years jail term or a fine,” CPC boss noted.
Future complaints and sanctions such as these can see the company lose a large market share, with competitors such as Pepsi lurking closely behind.