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MEPs veto alertness claims for energy drinks

11 July 2016, 23:09 CET
MEPs veto alertness claims for energy drinks

Energy drinks - Image by Dominicp

(STRASBOURG) - Euro-MPs voted on Thursday to veto European Commission plans to allow claims that sugary drinks and energy drinks containing caffeine boost 'alertness' or 'concentration'.

In their resolution, the MEPs said that displaying these claims on drinks cans would have led to higher sugar consumption among adolescents, who are the largest group of energy drink consumers.

A 250ml can of energy drink can contain up to 27g of sugar and 80mg of caffeine, said the Parliament. Energy drinks have been linked to headaches, sleep problems and behavioural problems in children and adolescents who regularly consume them regularly.

"From statistics we know that many young people and even children are drinking a lot of these energy drinks", said the Parliament rapporteur Christel Schaldemose MEP. "So it's not just the caffeine, it's also that energy drinks contain a lot of sugar too. And we don't think that these sorts of drinks should have any kind of health claims put on them", she added.

Parliament was not saying that adults should not drink coffee or energy drinks, she stressed. "We just don't want to [help companies] to earn a lot of money on a health claim that we think is not suited for young kids."

In their resolution, MEPs note that the Commission itself says that claims that caffeine helps to increase alertness and concentration should not be used for foods targeting children and adolescents. They also point out that adolescents are the largest group of energy drink consumers, citing studies showing that 68% of adolescents and 18% of children regularly consume energy drinks.

MEPs have called un EU Member States to consider introducing rules on the marketing of beverages with high caffeine content, and of foods with added caffeine, to children and adolescents.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text (2016/2708(RPS)) will soon be available here (07.07.2016)

Article - Schaldemose: "Energy drinks shouldn't have any kind of health claims on them"

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