Media Release

21 March 2013

Industry says that linking energy drinks to late night violence In Byron is a step too far

The Australian Beverages Council, representing the Australian energy drink industry, has criticized recent comments made by Byron Bay Mayor Richardson which suggest energy drinks as a mixer are the reason for late night violence in the town.

“While the industry supports measures to curb anti-social behavior that often occurs, blaming a non-alcoholic mixer that contains only 80mg of caffeine in a standard 250ml can – which is the same as a cup of instant coffee – and comprises less than one per cent of overall bar sales in Australia is a step too far” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

The Mayor’s suggestion that mixing energy drinks with alcohol is a ‘dangerous business’ is contrary to the evidence coming from international food safety authorities and research studies.

“Leading global authorities like the UK Government’s Committee on Toxicology (2012) concluded that the current balance of evidence does not support a harmful toxicological or behavioural interaction between caffeine and alcohol. This confirms similar findings from the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food (2003) and the European Food Safety Authority (2009).

“A recent study of over 6,000 Dutch students comparing those that consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks versus those that drank alcohol alone, provides scientific evidence that mixing energy drinks with alcohol does not increase overall alcohol consumption and/or alcohol-related consequences. In fact, the study revealed that those that mix energy drinks with alcohol, consumer less alcohol compared to those who drank alcohol alone. Furthermore, a 2013 survey of over 1,200 Australians aged between 18-34 revealed that only 10% of people drink energy drinks on a night out and not all of them mix energy drinks with alcohol.

“The science doesn’t support the Mayor’s allegations. Commonsense points to the issue of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol – whether that be before people leave their home on a night out or in licensed venues, is the cause of late night violence in and around premises. It’s not the mixer that’s the problem” Mr Parker continued.

ENERGY DRINK FACTS

  • Food Standard 2.6.4 (Formulated Caffeinated Beverages) of the Australian and New Zealand Food Standard Code is the regulatory standard that governs the content and mandatory advisory statements for energy drinks.
  • Food Standard 2.6.4. limits the amount of caffeine in a 250mL energy drink to 80 mg – the equivalent of a cup of coffee.

 

For more information contact: Geoff Parker, CEO – 0407 646 195

For a copy of the industry’s Energy Drinks – An Industry Commitment go to: http://www.australianbeverages.org/lib/pdf/EnergyDrinks_AnIndustryCommitment.pdf

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