01.Under-18s at risk of over-consumption of energy drinks
The NSW branch of the Country Women's Association has presented a petition to the Australian Parliament calling for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children and a requirement for proof of age at point of sale.
"We protect our children from alcohol and tobacco and believe that energy drinks should also be included on this list,” said Mrs Tanya Cameron, President of the CWA of NSW. “Energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine mixed with ingredients like taurine, guarana, glucuronolactone and ginseng which elevate the heart rate and blood pressure and disrupt sleep. To children this is dangerous, especially when these beverages can be purchased practically anywhere with no limit as to how many can be bought at one time."
“Interestingly, the Food Standards Code limits caffeine in soft drinks to a maximum of 145 milligrams/kg and our advice is that the industry has committed to no 'direct marketing and advertising of energy drinks to children' but they are sold on the same shelves, from the same outlets with no restrictions," says Cameron.
Energy drinks linked to adverse health reactions, caffeine toxicity
Sales of energy drinks are growing each year, last year outselling soft drinks and making up 35% of all drinks sold at convenience stores. Energy drinks have been linked to poor concentration, disruptive behaviour in schools and heart palpitations that have resulted in admissions to hospital.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has been expressing concern for several years over the increasing number of incidents of caffeine toxicity amongst adolescents.
"The dangers of over-consumption are significant and I think many parents and teenagers are unaware of the risks," said AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton.
As a result of public concern around the increased exposure to caffeine particularly among children and adolescents, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand is currently undertaking a review of the policy underpinning the standards that regulate the use of caffeine in food.