The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has commenced investigation into the veracity of the recent widely publicised claims of the Nigerian Breweries Plc (NB) regarding the health benefits of beer consumption, alleging that the claims are capable of luring unsuspecting consumers into unwholesome consumption of the product.
Nigerian Breweries had in media reportage of its recent symposium held in Lagos early July 2016 asserted that consumption of beer has many nutrional, health and therapeutic benefits.
CPC, in a swift reaction, has sent a notice of the commencement of investigation of the claims to the leading brewery company, quoting relevant sections of its law mandating it to protect consumers from misleading advertisement or information on any consumer item, among others.
The Council, in a letter signed by its Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, listed some of the claims, which include that beer is not an alcoholic beverage and that if taken regularly and in moderation has many defined nutritional and health benefits and can indeed be part of a healthy life style.
Other claims by the company also include that “beer consumption has therapeutic qualities such as prevention of kidney stones, increase in anti-oxidant activity in the body, reduction in the risk of heart disease and blood pressure management”.
The government agency expressed its reservation that the claims “in effect suggest that beer is a health drink and have the potential to lure unsuspecting consumers into unwholesome consumption of the product”, and therefore gave Nigerian Breweries 14 days to respond to the notice with relevant documents and to show proof of certification of its claims and registration with relevant agencies.
Mrs. Atoki, while commenting on the development, said the Council’s impending investigation of the company’s alleged claims became inevitable in view of its mandate to ensure information put out to consumers are not misleading and to also check obnoxious practices or the unscrupulous exploitation of consumers by companies, firms and trade associations or individuals.
She pointed out that, in conducting the investigation, the Council would collaborate with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which is the specific regulator for the sector, and the Federal Ministry of Health.
According to her, NAFDAC and the ministry have been appropriately communicated to on the development and the CPC’s decision to investigate the veracity of the claims for the benefits of Nigerian consumers.