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May 21, 2010
For immediate release
OTTAWA - Health Canada wishes to correct an inaccuracy that has been reported by a number of media outlets regarding the approval of pre-mixed alcoholic energy drinks for sale in liquor stores.
To clarify, Health Canada has not approved the sale of any pre-mixed alcoholic energy drinks for sale.
In Canada, Energy drinks are regulated as natural health products, and are approved for specific purposes.
Simply taking an approved energy drink, such as you would find in convenience and grocery stores, adding alcohol and offering it for sale is not allowed. An energy drink containing alcohol would be subject to different regulations under the Food and Drugs Act, and would be evaluated differently - as a food, and not as a natural health product.
As a food, a number of ingredients that are frequently found in energy drinks would not be allowed in these products. This includes the direct addition of caffeine, but also elements such as vitamins and minerals and taurine. As a result, it isn't possible to look at a single ingredient (such as guarana, or chocolate) and say that because the specific ingredient is allowed, that the resulting product is therefore legal.
Health Canada will be following up with liquor boards and other relevant bodies to ensure that the regulations and their implications for energy drinks containing alcohol are appropriately understood.
Health Canada continues to advise consumers not to mix energy drinks with alcohol.
For more information about energy drinks, please see Health Canada's It's Your Health article.
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