Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

MEPs move on energy drink ads

Nessa Childers
Nessa Childers

MEPs are bidding to veto an update of EU rules that would allow energy drinks to advertise health claims.

In a written statement on Wednesday, MEPs in the European Parliament's health committee said such claims - for instance, that energy drinks increase "alertness" - would lead to a spike in sugar consumption in teens and young children.

According to the World Health Organisation, adolescents are the largest group of energy drink consumers - 68pc regularly consume energy drinks, while 18pc of children do.

The WHO has also said that increased consumption of energy drinks poses a "danger to public health", given the high sugar content.

A 250ml can of energy drink contains up to 27g of sugar and 80mg of caffeine, well over the recommended daily allowance for children and young adults.

The Parliament as a whole will vote on the proposals at the beginning of July in ­Strasbourg.

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, said it was "not appropriate" to be endorsing this kind of policy given the science.

"Energy drinks are, and will remain, fully available on the market but I see no reason why we should let them tout their stimulant properties on the label," Ms Childers said.

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Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan said it was a "risky" strategy to ignore the potential health risks for young people.

"We now find ourselves in the ridiculous situation where the EU Commission instead of regulating these unhealthy drinks, actually want to put health promotions on the front," she said.

"Instead of pushing forward with health claims which help to promote these energy drinks, the Commission needs to reassess its priorities for safeguarding health, and especially the health of children and adolescents," added Ms Boylan.

Hungary introduced a public health tax that includes energy drinks in 2012. In Sweden, sales of some types of energy drinks are restricted to pharmacies and sales to children are banned.

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