US: Put warning labels on energy drinks - scientists

By | 24 September 2008

Energy drinks should carry warning labels about the amount of caffeine they contain, a team of scientists in the US has said.

Some energy drinks contained caffeine levels equivalent to drinking 14 cans of Coca-Cola, said the scientists, from John Hopkins University. Their comments appear in an article published in this month's Drug and Alcohol Dependency journal.

The energy drinks sector is one of the fastest growing in the US soft drinks market. The Hopkins team said the category was worth US$5.4bn.  

Roland Griffiths, lead scientist in the Hopkins team, said: "Without adequate, prominent labeling; consumers most likely won't realise whether they are getting a little or a lot of caffeine. It's like drinking a serving of an alcoholic beverage and not knowing if its beer or scotch."

The team claimed that because energy drinks were marketed as dietary supplements, the maximum level of 71mg per 12oz can for soft drinks did not apply in the eyes of regulators.

The American Beverage Association said today (24 September): "It's unfortunate that the authors of this article would attempt to lump all energy drinks together in a rhetorical attack when the facts of their review clearly distinguish the mainstream responsible players from novelty companies seeking attention and increased sales, based solely on extreme names and caffeine content."

It said that forcing energy drinks to carry warning labels would create a "slippery slope", that would also have to extend to coffee.

The group added that a 16oz "regular coffeehouse coffee" contained around 320mg of caffeine, compared to 160mg in a similar-sized mainstream energy drink. Most firms marketed their energy drinks responsibly, it said. 

The Hopkins team said they had begun collecting "case reports of intoxication from energy drinks in children and adolescents".

Sectors: Soft drinks

View next/previous articles

Currently reading -

US: Put warning labels on energy drinks - scientists

There are currently no comments on this article

Be the first to comment on this article

Related articles

just the round-up - The week in drinks

The top ten stories published on just-drinks this week:

In the Spotlight - Australia's RTD tax

The controversial Australian 'alcopops' tax has been defeated by the country's Senate this week. Michelle Russell looks at the fallout.

UK: Anheuser-Busch InBev avoids Stella Artois advert ban

Anheuser-Busch InBev has successfully defended its Stella Artois advert campaign in the UK, following an official complaint to the country's advertising watchdog.

just-drinks tagline

Not a member? Join here

Decrease font sizeDecrease font sizeDecrease font size Increase font sizeIncrease font sizeIncrease font size Comment on this article Email this to a friend Print this page