The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has opened an inquiry into the controversy about the safety of Blue Band “Spread for Bread” when subjected to high temperature in boiling water.
This is coming on the back of a viral video that portrayed Blue Band butter as unsafe.
The council, in a statement issued to newsmen on Sunday, disclosed that “a short demonstration video showing how Blue Band “Spread for Bread” (a product of Unilever Nigeria PLC) reacts under certain heat conditions has been circulating, particularly on social media.
“The video, or impression it conveys, has become the subject of anxiety and intense controversy. It suggests that the product, which the narrator considers a functional equivalent of ‘Blue Band Original’, is unsafe because, when subjected to high temperature in boiling water, it did not melt or dissolve”.
“Available scientific information confirms that, though butter, margarine, and spread appear analogous, and share similar components, characteristics and uses, they are different products available to consumers. Butter and margarine share a particular similar characteristic; low resistance to heat.”
“As such, both are likely to melt when subjected to certain levels of heat. Spreads however, have varying heat resistance, depending on intended use, and production process. As a result, it is not necessarily unsafe that a spread does not melt under similar heat conditions as butter, or margarine.”
“Spreads are produced in part by adding emulsifiers which are additives used in stabilising and binding processed foods. They are not inherently unsafe or uncommon. The specific emulsifying agent and amount used, largely depends on many factors including shelf life, storage, handling and climatic conditions in order to prevent microbial activity”.
CPC clarified in its statement that the manufacturer of the product has made a statement seeking to address public concern by differentiating its products and explaining the purposes of the two different products.
It said, regardless, the Council has opened an inquiry to determine product safety, and clarify some aspects of the manufacturer’s statements.
It explain that the purpose of the inquiry is to ensure that the product, differentiated or otherwise, is safe and subjected to proper processes, and “in-trade” handling consistent with the different properties and characteristics of each product.
The Council, however, assured consumers of the product that it will continue to collaborate with the National Agency for Food And Drugs And Administration Control, (NAFDAC) and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, ( SON), regarding the applicable safety standards, but advises that consumption of butter, margarine or spreads generally are not unsafe.