Energy drinks are some of the most highly consumed non-alcoholic beverages by about 20 percent of youths and adolescents in Nigeria.

Adverse health effects have been attributed to the rate of consumption of the drinks due to the caffeine and sugar contents in them, but another source of concern is the benzene level which is supposed to be a preservative.

The Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma, has said that there is a need for Nigeria to generate data on benzene level in soft drinks.

Aboloma made the statement when he addressed the Technical Committee meeting on water, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks held in Abuja.

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He said that development of standards and reviews are targeted at ensuring the health and safety of consumers and to serve as guide to manufacturers and importers.

“The draft standards are standards for soft drinks, energy drinks, ginger drinks, sparkling fruit drinks, fruit squashes, concentrate and fruit cordial concentrate energy drinks,” he said.

He stressed the need for setting standards that would prescribe good quality and food safety requirements in line with international best practices.

“I implore you all to participate actively and freely express your concerns at every stage of the deliberations,” he said.

The committee consists of representatives of Federal Ministry of Health, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control and Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi.

Others are Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology, Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria and Consumer Protection Council.