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Blanket age bans rejected for energy drinks

John Wood ·

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has published the findings of its inquiry into the sale of energy drinks, concluding that there is insufficient evidence for a blanket age restriction on the products.

The committee’s inquiry was launched in March 2018 to consider whether further action was needed from government to reduce the consumption of energy drinks among young people. In its report, the committee states: “On balance, we conclude that the current scientific evidence alone is not sufficient to justify a measure as prohibitive as a statutory ban on the sale of energy drinks to children. Single portions are within the European Food Safety Authority’s suggested limit for caffeine intake by children.”

In the report, the committee outlines its support for “schools, local authorities and local communities working with businesses and vending machine providers” to reduce the consumption of energy drinks among young people at a local level where appropriate.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Over half of convenience stores are not selling energy drinks to under 16s. Some have variations of that policy, so it might be that they don’t sell to people in school uniform, it might be not to sell in the morning, it might be not to sell more than one can. We welcome the findings of the committee’s report, and encourage retailers to engage with their local communities where concerns about the sale of energy drinks arise.”

ACS Assured Advice on Age Restricted Sales, referenced in the inquiry’s report, states: “There is no legal prohibition on energy drinks. However you should be aware that all major UK manufacturers advise that these products are not suitable for children which they define as under 16 years old. You may decide to impose a restricted sale policy on your own initiative, or you may be asked to do so by the local school or parents group. You should listen to such requests constructively and accommodate them if you can.”

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