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ANSES warns French nation of risky alcohol energy drink mix

By Ben Bouckley , 07-Jun-2012
Last updated on 08-Jun-2012 at 12:55 GMT

ANSES warns French nation of risky alcohol energy drink mix

French food safety agency ANSES has called for healthcare professionals to report on undesirable effects among patients that they believe could be linked to energy drink consumption alongside alcohol, and plans to release a report on the former this autumn.

The agency collects information on undesirable effects suspected to be linked to the consumption of these products and it said in a statement yesterday: “Recently, several cases have been reported to ANSES, notably during consumption of these drinks in association with alcohol.”

ANSES (Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de L’Alimentation, de L’Environnement et du Travail) urged French health professionals to forward it information on undesirable effects – under the form of the nation’s Nutrivigilance programme, which has analysed adverse reactions to foods since 2009.

An ANSES spokeswoman told BeverageDaily.com: "The main purpose of our communique was to communicate with health professionals, and get them to furnish us with more data for our studies. We are not making any recommendations [regarding tighter regulation of energy drinks] for now.

She added: "We are currently working on a report on energy drinks for publication this October."

Undesirable effects?

The agency said that the French Ministry of Health asked the Institute de Veille Sanitaire (InVS) investigate undesirable effects linked to energy drinks in 2008 it looked into 28 cases.

In 13 of these, a “possible or probable” causal connection between consumption and ill effects was established, ANSES said, where these included cardiological, neurological and psychiatric effects.

“Also, three cases of stroke and two cardiac arrests (one fatal) were reported for which the link with the consumption of energy drinks could not be established,” the agency added.

Further surveillance by Anses in 2009 detected six further cases – all concerning people under 50 years, with four under 30 – where five had drunk energy drinks in tandem with alcohol in a festive context, with similar undesirable effects noted, including one case of kidney damage.

“Investigations are underway to help refine the analysis of these cases,” ANSES added.

Risky consumption modes

Although there was no statutory definition for energy drinks, ANSES said, the term grouped together drinks deemed to mobilise energy in stimulating the nervous system and containing ingredients described as ‘stimulants’: taurine, caffeine, guarana, ginseng, vitamins, etc.

ANSES said it had earlier drawn attention to the fact that certain modes of consumption – sporting activity, mixing with alcohol – was associated with cardiovascular risks in relation to physical exercise, while drinks had also been linked to reduced perception of the effects related to drinking alcohol.

“Ongoing work by the Agency and due for publication this autumn demonstrates both that the consumption of these products in conjunction with sporting activity is increasing and that 27% of consumers under 35 years old mix – at least from time to time – these products with alcohol," ANSES said.

Under its Nutrivigilence remit, the agency recently received several reports of adverse effects suspected to be linked to the consumption of energy drinks, of which two were fatal, ANSES added.

“More generally, ANSES recalls that these drinks are reserved for adults and are not suitable for pregnant women, that they must be consumed in moderation, and that unlike sports drinks were not adapted to use during intense physical exercise," the agency said.

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