EC: Energy drinks don’t need warning labels

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Energy drinks, Caffeine

The European Commission has rejected a German motion to enforce energy drinks to carry warning labels.

The EC responded to a German national measure to require energy drinks to carry warnings due to concerns about excessive consumption of ingredients like caffeine and taurine.

“The Commission could find no evidence of a specific risk associated with these substances that would require additional labelling and had a negative opinion on this notification,”​ an EC spokesperson said.

The mandatory warning labels would have highlighted potential hazards of excess caffeine consumption for population groups like pregnant women and children.

Many energy drinks already carry label warnings against over-consumption and additional advisories that children, pregnant women and caffeine-sensitive individuals should not consume the products. Other statements warn breast-feeding mothers, diabetics and those with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease not to consume energy drinks

Earlier this year the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) issued a report calling for the banning of energy shot drinks due to their excessive consumption by mainly younger consumers in nightclubs.

The BfR said while there were no inherent health issues if manufacturer recommendations of one energy shot drink per day were followed, consumers could not be trusted to follow this advice, and so deemed the drinks unsafe.

BfR noted adverse effects of caffeine over-consumption included nervousness, irritability, insomnia, nausea, headache, tremor, increased anxiety, perceptual disturbances, diuresis, arrhythmia, tachy-cardia, increased respiration rate and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Several German states banned a cola product made by Austrian-based energy drink leader Red Bull in 2009 for containing trace amounts of cocaine derived from the cocoa extracts but no safety issue has been demonstrated and Red Bull said the trace amounts were normal side products of decocainised coca leaf extracts.

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