17 Aug 2009

Call for mandatory warnings on energy drinks

3:03 pm on 17 August 2009

The Food Safety Authority is calling for warning labels on caffeine levels in energy drinks to be made mandatory.

The authority says it would be concerned if high-powered energy drinks were marketed to children.

The authority's call follows the collapse of a 15-year-old Heretaunga College pupil last week shortly after she drank a NOS Energy Shot, which is classed as a dietary supplement.

Heretaunga College principal Bruce Hart says it is unclear whether the drink caused the girl's collapse, but he would still prefer that such energy drinks were not sold to students under 16. The girl is now well.

Food Safety Authority spokesperson Geoff Allen says dietary supplement drinks are required to be "safe and suitable for sale", though there is no legal limit on the amount of caffeine that can be in each drink and warning labels are only recommended.

He says the authority is developing a set of standards that will make such limits mandatory.

A NOS or Demon Energy Shot has about twice the amount of caffeine contained in a typical cup of coffee.