Proposed Energy Drink bans not supported by the evidence

3 August 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

Proposed Energy Drink bans not supported by the evidence 

The Australian Beverages Council, representing the local energy drinks industry, has today rejected calls for age restrictions and potential taxes on energy drinks following a statement released by AMA President Dr Gannon.

“Restricting the sale of energy drinks or other potential bans are unnecessary, unwarranted and not supported by any of the available evidence” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

“Australia has some of the toughest regulations in the world for the composition and labelling of energy drinks, and these are serving consumers well. The industry has also voluntarily committed to not market and advertise to children, or make energy drinks available in primary or secondary schools1.

“By Australian law, energy drinks must be clearly labelled that they are not suitable for children and that no more than two per day should be consumed (2x250mL). These regulations, in addition to a cap on the caffeine content, equivalent to an instant cup of coffee for a 250mL can (80mg), make our energy drink regulations the toughest in the world. We would encourage commentators in this space like the AMA to become informed about how our regulations and our products differ from those cited in overseas studies, and we’ll reach out to Dr Gannon to provide that briefing.

“The AMA have also missed the mark on the amount of caffeine that teenagers get from these products. In fact, energy drinks are one of the smallest contributors to teenage daily caffeine intake in Australia.

Australian Government data released as part of a broad ranging review into caffeine shows that the average 14-16 year old gets 32% of their daily dietary caffeine from coffee, 5.2% from flavoured milk and 4.5% from confectionery and muesli bars2. Only 3.8% of their daily dietary caffeine comes from energy drinks. If the AMA were serious about the caffeine intake of teenagers, they would be calling for age restrictions on coffee.

Further, ABS data released as part of the Australian Health Survey in 2011-12 found that the mean intake of energy drinks across all 14-18 year olds was just 6.3mL, representing less than 0.4% of total intake of all non-alcoholic, non-dairy beverages3. In this demographic, just 1.7% of all 14-18 year olds consumed energy drinks.

“The decision as to when an older teen is ready to consume an energy drink is the same decision as for coffee. This is a discussion best led by parents around the kitchen table. To help parents and teens with that decision, the industry recognises that education about the products is the best place to start, which is a point we do agree with the AMA on. To assist families with this decision, the industry recently launched a website that provides clear and transparent facts about energy drinks and their use – www.energydrinksinformation.org “ Mr Parker concluded.

For more information contact:

Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council, M: 0407 646 195

References:

1 http://australianbeverages.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/EnergyDrinks_AnIndustryCommitment.pdf

2 The Regulation of Caffeine in Foods, Department of Health August 2013 https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/A294B740C7928C3CCA257BF0001CFFF4/$File/The%20Regulation%20of%20Caffeine%20in%20Foods.docx

3 Hendrie, G.A., Baird, D., Syrette, J., Barnes, M., Riley, M (2015) Consumption of non-dairy, non-alcoholic beverages in the Australian population: A secondary analysis of the Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) 2011-12: Comprehensive Results, CSIRO, Australia.

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