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Energy drinks 'can't carry health claims'

dpadpa 7/07/2016

The European Parliament is making moves to reduce the consumption of sugar by adolescents, with sugary energy drinks a target.

Sugary energy drinks containing caffeine that are sold in the European Union will not be able to carry claims that they boost alertness, after the European Parliament vetoed a proposal on drinks labelling by the bloc's executive.

The parliament on Thursday said its decision is aimed at reducing the consumption of sugar by adolescents. A 250-millilitre energy drink can contain up to 27 grams of sugar and 80 milligrams of caffeine, it noted.

The World Health Organization recommends that adults and children should get less than 10 per cent of their daily energy intake from sugar, while keeping sugar consumption below 25 grams per day would provide "additional health benefits."

"From statistics we know that many young people and even children are drinking a lot of these energy drinks," said Socialist EU MP Christel Schaldemose, who oversaw the issue.

"We don't think that these sorts of drinks should have any kind of health claims put on them," she added.

"The [drinks] industry needs to work a bit harder to turn nice words into real action to stop their products being marketed to children," added far-left EU lawmaker Lynn Boylan.

Energy drinks have also been linked to headaches, sleep problems and behavioural problems in children and adolescents, EU MPs argued.

They pointed to studies showing that 68 per cent of adolescents and 18 per cent of children regularly consume energy drinks, while one in three 11-year-olds are overweight or obese in Europe.

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