Finland is introducing label warnings to drinks with a high caffeine content, following regulations issued by the EU Commission last year.
The new rules do not affect tea or coffee, or drinks made with tea or coffee extracts, signifying this in the product name. However, energy drinks or other beverages containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre must be labelled with the warning 'high caffeine content'.
The warning is required to be in the same field of vision as the name of the product and must indicate the caffeine content of the beverage in milligrams per 100 millilitres.
Finland's National Food Agency said that such products must also include warnings for children, pregnant women or people with caffeine sensitivity, and additional recommendations for use, indicating the daily intake or warning about the harmful effects of excessive caffeine intake.
The caffeine content of coffee ranges from 350-690 mg/litre and from 100-400 mg/litre in tea. Leading energy drink Red Bull contains 80mg caffeine per 250ml (or 320mg per litre) while Finalnd's Battery drink also contains 320mg caffeine per litre. Both will be required to introduce the warnings.
Energy drinks must also add a warning against consumption with alcoholic beverages, based on recommendations issued by the EU's Scientific Committee on Food and on the opinion of STTV National Product Control Agency For Welfare And Health.
The UK's Food Standards Agency is currently seeking views on the new caffeine labelling rules, agreed in Brussels in February 2002. They must come into effect in member states by 1 July 2004.
Finnish law currently requires those importing beverages in which more than 135 mg/kg of caffeine is added to request a permission from its National Food Agency.
Finnish legislation is available online.