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AUS: Industry rejects call for energy drinks warning labels

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The Australian Beverages Council has dismissed a call by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) for greater regulations of energy drinks.

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Research published in the Medical Journal of Australia last week found that, in 2010, 65 people had called the New South Wales Poisons Centre with problems caused by the consumption of energy drinks. This is up from 12 people in 2004, the report noted.

The callers, with an average age of 17 years had, in some cases, reported "hallucinations, seizures and heart problems". The study noted that the symptoms were most frequent when energy drinks had been consumed, and at "the manufacture-recommended level".

As a result, the study has called for better regulation of the energy drinks industry, including a closer look at the levels of caffeine content, the number of purchases allowed, age limits and packaging information.

The AMA, however, has rejected the calls, claiming that the energy drinks market in Australia is "the most heavily regulated of all world markets".

The AMA's CEO, Geoff Parker, said in a statement: "Personal responsibility needs to be considered and trying to regulate against a lack of commonsense or over-consumption of a perfectly safe product by 0.00001% of the population isn't a position supported by the industry."

"There are regulations in place that limits the amount of caffeine in Australian energy drinks to that of a common cup of coffee," Parker said. "If indeed caffeine over-consumption is the concern of the researchers then the proposed review of labelling and sale provisions should be extended for all cups of coffee, pots of tea and all chocolate bars - products which all contain caffeine."


Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

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