US leading crackdown calls on caffeinated energy drinks

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Energy drink, Caffeine

Pressure is mounting in both Australia and the US to crack down on the sale and availability of caffeinated energy drinks to young people, according to news reports in both countries.

While academics and politicians in both countries call for a rethink in current industry practice, the European commission has its own policy on labelling non tea and coffee based drinks with over 150mg/l of caffeine as having 'high caffeine content'.

However, some Australian politicians and a group of US scientists and physicians hope to take this practice further in their own respective countries by pushing for new legislation designed to cut down on consumption of the product in young people.

In Australia, councillors in New South Wales are expected this week to vote on a motion that would call for a wider crack down by authorities on selling energy drink to minors amidst concerns of their availability, reported the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

US fears

The developments come on the back of reports last week that one hundred scientists and physicians in the US sent a petition to the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for greater regulation of energy drink products.

According to the USA today newspaper, Roland Griffiths, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, penned a letter calling on caffeine contents within specific brands to be included on the packaging as well as limits on the use of stimulants.

Just last week, the British Soft Drink association, which represents a number of leading energy drink manufacturers that it did not believe there was any need to consider further amendments to the labelling rules set out by the European Commission.

Despite European investigations into the use of some ingredients in energy drink formulations planned this year, consideration of similar restrictions by European commission regarding caffeine content appear unlikely though.

Euro policy

A spokesperson for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) told BeverageDaily.com earlier this year that it was looking to evaluate the safety of a number of commonly used energy drink compounds later this year, but caffeine was not one of them.

“Apart from taurine, EFSA will also be evaluating glucuronolactone as constituents of ‘energy drinks’, possibly by the end of 2008,”​ the spokesperson said.

Related topics: Energy & Sports, Markets

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