Support for changing labelling on energy drinks

Posted: 10 December 2018 | | No comments yet

The UK government has been advised to review current labelling rules on energy drinks and to ascertain whether energy drinks negatively affect health.

energy drink

The Science and Technology Committee published a report last week on the labelling of energy drinks in the UK, stating that there should be more prominent advice on the packaging.

A study reported that young people in the UK were shown to be the biggest consumers of energy drinks in Europe, with the Committee wanting to understand if the levels of caffeine intake were high for children their age. 

The reported stated: “The Report recommends that the Government should use the opportunity of leaving the EU to introduce additional labelling requirements to ensure that advisory messages are not merely in ‘the small print’, enabling more informed decision prior to purchase.”

The Committee also argued whether it would be beneficial to extend restrictions on energy drinks for all under 16s across the UK, due to their negative health effects in children.

The report concluded with numerous statements, and advised that, “Drinking energy drinks is correlated with young people engaging in other risky behaviours such as drinking alcohol and smoking, but it is not possible to determine whether there is any causal link.”

The Committee urged government officials to commission independent research to determine any causal link between energy drinks and poor health, and whether energy drinks have more harmful effects than other soft drinks that contain caffeine.

Science and Technology Committee chair Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP said: “Throughout this inquiry, the Committee has heard a range of concerns warning of the impact energy drinks can have on the behaviour of young people. This varied from a lack of concentration in the classroom and hyperactivity to the effects on physical health. It’s clear from the evidence we received that disadvantaged children are consuming energy drinks at a higher rate than their peers.

“Although the Committee feels there is not enough scientific evidence alone to support a blanket ban, we support voluntary bans by retailers— many of whom have recognised the negative impact associated with such products. The Government needs to commission independent research to see whether energy drinks are more harmful than other soft drinks.

“It would be legitimate for the Government to go beyond the evidence that is available at the moment and implement a statutory ban based on societal concerns and evidence, such as the experience of school teachers and pupils. If the Government decides to introduce a ban it should explain why it has come to this decision.”