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Canada Caps Caffeine in Energy Drinks

Health Canada limits the amount of caffeine per can of energy drink to 180 milligrams, roughly equivalent to the amount of caffeine in a medium cup of coffee.

NACSOnline
11 October 2011

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Canada’s Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced last week that the country is capping the amount of caffeine that energy drinks sold in the country can contain, the Vancouver Sun reports.

The popular beverages are to be regulated as food products and thus will be required to list nutritional information, including caffeine content. Until now, they have been classified as a natural health product and thus exempt from displaying the information on product labels.

“I believe today’s changes will be especially helpful to the parents of teenagers who regularly consume energy drinks,” Aglukkaq said.

Despite recommendations by a panel reporting to Health Canada to cap the caffeine content in each can at 80 milligrams, Health Canada settled on 180 milligrams of caffeine, about the same as a medium cup of coffee.

The threshold is expected to affect roughly 20 percent of energy drinks sold in Canada, including energy shots such as 5-Hour. All will have to be reformulated with less caffeine to meet the new standard.

Companies will be required to provide regular updates to Health Canada about any consumer health-related complaints associated with their products, as well as to submit data on consumption and sales of their products.

Health Canada is also “directing” energy drink companies to eliminate marketing campaigns that promote the unsafe consumption of their products, and move that Health Canada said “will show parents and the general public that they are serious about addressing issues around marketing and sampling of energy drinks to children and teens.”

The Canadian Beverage Association said it supports Health Canada’s decision but that it is concerned that energy drinks are being singled out with requirements that don’t apply to other caffeinated beverages.

Health Canada said it expects products to meet the new requirements within the next 18 to 24 months.
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