4 December 2013

Industry calls for commonsense and evidence in energy drink debate

The Australian Beverages Council, representing the Australian energy drink industry, has called on Albury Council to adopt a commonsense approach backed by evidence in the debate over energy drinks.

“While the non-alcoholic beverage industry supports measures to curb anti-social behaviour that often occurs in and around licensed premises, any consideration of a ban on a non-alcoholic mixer such as energy drinks that contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of instant coffee, and which comprises less than one per cent of an average bar’s sales, is a step too far” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

The industry has called for commonsense in the debate following remarks by Cr Thurley that suggested the mixing of energy drinks contributed to late night problems around licensed venues.

“The assertion that mixing energy drinks with alcohol contributes to late night problems is completely at odds to the evidence coming from international food safety authorities and research studies. Leading global authorities like the UK Government’s Committee on Toxicity (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 university 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. 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. A further paper co-authored by researchers from the Utrecht University in The Netherlands and Swinburne University in Melbourne found no relevant differences in motives for mixing alcohol and energy drinks or other non-alcoholic beverages.

“The science simply does not support the concerns nor the calls for an energy drink ban. Commonsense points to the issue of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol – whether that be before people leave home or in licensed venues, as being the cause of late night violence in and around premises. It’s not the mixer that’s the problem” Mr Parker concluded.

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.

MR-04122013-Industry calls for commonsense and evidence in Albury energy drink debate

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

The Australian Beverages Council is the peak body for the non-alcoholic beverages industry and represents 95% of the industry’s production volume through membership.

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