The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has refused to set a limit on sugar intake for consumers in the EU, appearing to query data linking sugary drinks to obesity.

EFSA said that it would set no daily upper limit on sugar intake "due to insufficient evidence" on sugar's health effects.

"This is because the possible health effects are mainly related to patterns of food consumption – ie the types of foods consumed and how often they are consumed – rather than a relation to the total intake of sugars itself," said EFSA in a report on dietary reference values last week.

EFSA is the EU's top food safety body.

Its judgement comes as the UK Food Standards Agency begins a three-year campaign to persuade drinks makers to reduce added sugar in their beverages.

EFSA left the door ajar for EU member states to set their own policies as they see fit.

"Evidence regarding patterns of consumption of sugar-containing foods should be considered by policy makers when making nutrition recommendations and developing food-based dietary guidelines at national level," it said.