By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
There is panic and fear amongst consumers of Coca Cola products in Calabar following a discovery that over 70 per cent of their products such as Sprite and Fanta which had expired.
Members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) were among the victims who have been consuming the expired products of the company not knowing that most of them had expired since August 2018.
The New Nigerian Online investigations showed that apart from selling the products branded for the FIFA World Cup which was hosted by Russia in June, most of the products being sold have expired.
Further investigations revealed that some of the products expired in August with the closest ones on 2nd of November 2018.
From the plastic bottles sighted by our correspondent with Batch Number P120418AR4 all expired on 12/08/2018 while batch numbers PO2718AR5, PO20718AC5 also expired on 02/10/2018 others include P040618AC5 expired in September (o4/10/2018) among other batches.
One of the consumers of the expired products, Eyo Asari complained that he bought same products on his way to Abuja after drinking his body started itching him and he had to go to the hospital when he got to Abuja from Calabar.
His words: “ Unknown to me, the Coca Cola I bought had expired but when I opened it, I never knew because it still had gas, but I noticed the taste was different it was after I had consumed it that my body started to itch me.
“It dawned on me to check the expiration date I discovered it had expired since August 2018, I didn’t know what to do, I had to buy red oil along the road at 9mile when we got to Enugu to rob on my body to reduce the itching and I had to see a doctor when I arrived Abuja who prescribed some drugs for me,‘’ he said.
An executive member of the Correspondents’ Chapel, NUJ Cross River State who pleaded anonymity confirmed she didn’t know that the product she bought had expired it was at the meeting which the item was meant to be used as refreshment as usual that her colleagues discovered that some had expired since August while some on 2nd of November.
Her words: “ I bought about 15 packs of the plastic Coca Cola product including Sprite, Fanta and Coke, because I have a colleague who sells to us and we also had congress (meeting) and we usually buy for refreshment.
“My colleague has been selling her own since then to members not knowing that all the products I bought at Chamley Street at a big Supermarket had all expired it was one of the Correspondents of Independent Newspapers who drank one and noticed the taste was different and he decided to check the expiration date, when he did that was when we discovered it had expired since August 2018.
“We had to start making inquiries and we discovered that most of the shops still have not just the FIFA World Cup products which does not also have a NAFDAC number except for a MANCAP number and were all expired but other products which were not branded for World Cup had also expired in September while some expired in November, we are very scared that the expired Coca Cola products have flooded the Calabar and Cross River State markets,” she bemoaned.
Upon further investigations New Nigerian discovered that most of the products including at Chamley, governor’s office canteen, and other outlets still had the FIFA WORLD CUP BRANDED PRODUCTS and the regular product which have all expired.
When New Nigerian contacted the company through the toll free number, the receiver who pleaded anonymity said they had cautioned distributors to take the FIFA branded products off the market but many mischievous ones have obviously not done so as they were still selling the expired products to unsuspecting members of the public.
“We are aware that some people are still selling the FIFA WORLD CUP BRANDED COCA COLA product to unsuspecting members of the public and the company had warned them to remove them from the market but obviously a lot of them have not done so in Calabar.
“The plastic bottles are meant to last only for three months while the bottled ones are to last for one year but a lot of adamant distributors and retailers want to make brisk business with it and this is very bad for the image of the company, we are not in support of this and we shall take drastic measures and actions to ensure that only product safe and healthy for consumption are in the market,” she said.