Tuesday 11 December 2018

Aldi is first to ban energy drinks for under-16s here

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Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Aldi has become the first retailer in Ireland to ban the sale of energy drinks to children.

Effective from March 1, children under the age of 16 will not be allowed to buy the highly caffeinated drinks at any of its 130 stores in Ireland.

Teenagers will be required to show identification if they intend to buy soft drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre.

Finbar McCarthy, group buying director at Aldi Ireland, said: "We are introducing this age restriction in response to growing concern about the consumption of energy drinks among young people."

Dr Marian O'Reilly, chief nutrition specialist at Safefood, warned last summer that caffeinated energy drinks pose a serious health risk to teens and young adults.

She said some energy drinks contain up to 17-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar and have the caffeine equivalent of two or three cups of coffee.

Obesity expert Donal O'Shea has also warned that high amounts of caffeine in young people can cause death.

"If an adult had three double espressos, they would be certainly be feeling very high levels of anxiety, along with an increase in their heartbeat. Now think of what the same level of caffeine would have in a child's body," he previously told the Irish Independent.

"Drinking high levels of caffeine, especially for children with undetected cardiac rhythm problems, is very dangerous."

Other retailers, however, have not indicated if they will follow suit with a similar ban.

A spokesperson for Lidl said: "Lidl has no policy in place currently and no immediate plans to do so. We will of course monitor the situation closely."

Supermarket giant Tesco did not respond to queries from the Irish Independent on the matter, referring instead to Retail Ireland.

Retail Ireland director Tom Burke said he is not aware of other retailers adopting a ban."But it's certainly an issue that has arisen and companies are looking at it," he said.

Irish Independent

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