Letters to the Editor

Make informed choices about energy drinks

The Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) would like to respond to “Ban energy drinks at school,” a recent column by Japreet Lehal.

Contrary to comments made in the column, under Health Canada’s guidance, energy drinks are transitioning from the Natural Health Product category to food regulations. Health Canada is using a science- and fact-based approach for regulating energy drinks.

As part of the transition, Health Canada has now capped the total amount of caffeine allowed in energy drinks at 400 mg per litre. This means that a small, single-serving energy drink (e.g. 250-ml can) will be capped at 80-100 mg of caffeine, while larger single-serving containers (e.g. 473-mL cans) will be capped at 180 mg of caffeine. All energy drinks sold in Canada already fall within these parameters.

To put that in perspective, If you look at a typical eight-oz/ 237-mL serving, Canadians get:

• 30 mg of caffeine from a cola;

• 80 mg of caffeine from an average small-can energy drink (180 mg of caffeine in a large 473-mL can);

• 96 mg of caffeine from an extra small Tim Horton’s Iced Cap;

• 175 mg of caffeine from a short Starbucks coffee or small coffeehouse coffee.

Energy drink labels have always included advisories stating that, “energy drinks are not recommended for children,  pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people who are sensitive to caffeine, and that they are not recommended to be mixed with alcohol,” and will continue to do so.

In regards to the claims about youth consumption in the article, the claim that 30 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds are regular consumers of energy drinks is incorrect. Recent independent research shows that the vast majority (81-93 per cent) of 12- to 17-year-olds rarely or never consume energy drinks. Only one to two per cent of teens consume energy drinks on a daily basis.

As per CBA’s industry guidelines, CBA members have never and do not sell energy drinks in elementary, middle or secondary schools in Canada. CBA members do not market their energy drinks to children.

Our goal is to help provide accurate information so Canadians are able to make informed beverage choices for themselves and their families. For more information please visit our website at www.canadianbeverage.ca

 

Jim Goetz, President

Canadian Beverage Association

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