High levels of caffeine are sparking calls to ban sales of energy drinks to children


Posted by Kailyn Ron

(Reuters) – Pediatricians and parents are calling on the United States to treat new high-caffeinated energy drinks as alcohol and cigarettes and ban their sale to minors because one serving can contain as much caffeine as six Coca-Cola drinks.

Prime Energy packs, which launched this year, contain 200mg of caffeine in their 350ml can, which exceeds the caffeine levels allowed in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Competitor products such as Anheuser Busch InBev’s Ghost energy drink and Kim Kardashian’s energy drink contain 200 mg of caffeine. Competitor Monster Energy contains 150 mg of caffeine.

With the caffeine content of energy drinks on the rise over the years, some countries and retailers have banned the products while a few require proof of age of purchase. In the United States and the United Kingdom, there are no national regulations prohibiting the sale of high-caffeinated energy drinks.

Without a legal age like those for alcohol and cigarettes, retailers are less likely to restrict access to them, said Dr. Holly Benjamin, a professor of pediatrics and orthopedics at the University of Chicago. There is no proven safe dose of caffeine for children, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

“Retailers can choose to put sports and energy drinks in different locations and label departments differently, but I think that’s unlikely to happen without regulation that starts with better product labeling and widespread education,” said Dr Benjamin.

She added: “Any energy drink that contains a high dose of caffeine, such as Prime Energy, is not safe for children.”

She added that side effects for children consuming caffeine could include a fast or irregular heartbeat, headache, seizures, tremors, upset stomach, and adverse emotional effects on mental health.

A spokesperson for the US Food and Drug Administration said the FDA is currently reviewing a request by US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to investigate Prime Energy’s caffeine content, as well as its marketing to children.

Representatives for the prime minister declined to comment. Ghost Energy and Monster Energy did not return messages requesting comment. Congo Brands, which owns Kimade, Alani Nu and Prime Energy, also did not respond to requests for comment.

Prime founders Logan Paul and KSI, both of whom are social media influencers, said in media interviews in August that they do not market the drink to children, adding that retailers should monitor sales to minors.

Colorful cans confuse parents

The American Medical Association supports a ban on the marketing of caffeinated beverages to children under the age of 18, per its policy established in 2013. The American Medical Association also urges US regulators or lawmakers to mandate “child-resistant packaging” on high-energy drinks. drinks.

Kinneret Chic Ohana, a Florida mother of five, saw the “bright, colorful Prime cans” her kids were talking about displayed in the front aisles of a Wal-Mart store when shopping for groceries. Excited, she ignored the black writing on the bottom of the colorful cans that said “energy drink” before bringing it home to her children.

“I was confused because when you first see the can, it’s hard to see where the energy drink is written on it. It took a while after my son pointed at him to find it,” said Ohana.

“The energy drink industry markets these supposedly adult-only products to children, and I think Prime is just another example of a company promoting these drinks that are not suitable for minors,” said Bonnie Patten, CEO of Truth in Advertising. Tina).

Specialty retailer GNC has established an age limit of 18+ for the purchase of energy drinks, subject to the customer service line and in-store checks.

Target and Walmart, as well as specialty chains like the Vitamin Shoppe, carry Prime Energy but don’t usually verify the ages of buyers, according to Reuters interviews and in-store checks.

“We strongly encourage our customers to follow all labeling instructions for every product sold in the Vitamin Shoppe, including energy drinks,” said The Vitamin Shop.

The target did not return messages requesting feedback. Wal-Mart declined to comment.

The lawyers said labels on drink makers stating the drinks are “not recommended” for children is creating confusion among retailers about what restrictions, if any, should be placed on selling energy drinks to children.

(Reporting by Kailyn Rohn in New York; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Lisa Shoemaker)

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