What are energy drinks?
Energy drinks are non-alcoholic drinks
containing ingredients such as glucose, caffeine or taurine, that
provide functional benefits by boosting energy and alertness.
The code of practice for high caffeine content soft drinks relates
to soft drinks that contain more than 150 mg of caffeine per
litre. Such drinks contain about as much caffeine as a cup of
How much caffeine is there in a high caffeine content
Caffeine is found in many popular foods and
drinks. The exact amount in any food or drink will depend on
the recipe and method, e.g. how long a cup of tea is steeped, but
the table below shows typical amounts.
|Mug of filter coffee
|Mug of instant coffee
|Can of energy drink high in caffeine
|Mug of tea
|Small bar of chocolate
|Can of cola
(figures from the Food Standards Agency)
Are energy drinks
High caffeine soft drinks and their
ingredients have been carefully studied by the regulatory
authorities and have been recognised as safe. Caffeine,
taurine and glucuronolactone have all been assessed by the Food
Standards Agency and the European Food Safety Authority as not
posing any safety concerns at the levels of intake observed among
consumers. (See, for example, the Opinion of the Scientific
Committee on Food on Additional information on “energy” drinks
(expressed on 5 March 2003) and the Scientific Opinion of the EFSA
Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food on The
use of taurine and D-glucurono-γ-lactone as constituents of the
so-called “energy” drinks (adopted on 15 January 2009).)
What is the code of practice?
The code supports consumers and parents who want to make
informed choices. It states the industry’s view that high
caffeine content soft drinks are not recommended for children,
and specifies that this information should be clearly stated on the
label of such drinks. It also ensures that high caffeine soft
drinks will not be promoted or marketed to those under 16.
Read the code of practice here.
Why have you adopted this
The code is to support those wanting to make
an informed choice about the type of drinks they consume.
Consumers and media have highlighted concerns about these types of
products and the code has been compiled to help address those
concerns and explain the position taken by the industry on how such
products can be enjoyed. This code support consumers and
parents who want to make informed choices.
Are energy drinks safe for
Latest reviews of the scientific evidence
suggest that children can be more susceptible to the stimulant
effects of caffeine than adults because of their lower body mass
and because, unlike many adults, they are not used to it on a
regular basis. On a precautionary basis, therefore, the soft
drinks industry suggests that high caffeine content soft drinks
should not be consumed by children. However, this does not
mean that the drinks are unsafe, and we firmly believe parents
should decide what is right for their families.
What if my child drinks an energy
Your child’s reaction will depend on his/her
sensitivity to caffeine. If there are any effects, they will
be transient and soon pass. If you are concerned, you should
consult your doctor.
Are energy drinks allowed in
The regulations regarding food and drink in
schools already prohibit high caffeine content soft drinks from
being sold in schools. Some schools have gone further and
banned their students from bringing high caffeine content soft
drinks into school from outside. Schools and parents have an
important role to play in educating children about the food and
drink they should be consuming - we clearly label high caffeine
soft drinks as not suitable for children so that people can make an
Can energy drinks be mixed with alcoholic
Neither alcoholic drinks nor energy drinks should be consumed by
children. Those adults who choose to drink alcoholic drinks
should drink them in moderation, whether they are mixed with energy
drinks or not.
What about energy shots?
A separate code for energy shots has been adopted by UNESDA, the
Union of European Beverages Associations, and supported by BSDA,
which you can read here.
It states, inter alia, that energy shots are not suitable for
children and that energy shots should not be promoted as suitable
for mixing with alcohol.
About the code of practice: information for retailers
Read the code of practice here.
To whom does the code
The code applies to manufacturers and
importers of soft drinks that are members of BSDA. It
contains provisions on how they should label and market their soft
drinks that are high in caffeine.
To what drinks does the code
The code of practice applies to soft drinks
that are high in caffeine (above 150 mg per litre). It does
not apply to energy shots that are sold as food supplements (and
are thus subject to food supplement regulations), nor does it apply
to soft drinks that are not high in caffeine.
What are the rules about promotion and
Decisions about promotion and merchandising
in-store are taken by retailers, not by manufacturers.
However, where manufacturers offer guidance and suggestions on
promotion and merchandising, they will take into account the
provisions in the code about marketing to ensure that any such
promotion and merchandising does not target persons under the age