March 19, 2010
For immediate release
OTTAWA - After an extensive review of all available science, Health Canada has authorized broader use of caffeine as a food additive from cola-type beverages to all carbonated soft drinks.
Health Canada has determined that adding synthetic caffeine to non-cola soft drinks in concentrations no higher than 150 parts per million (ppm) poses no health risk to consumers when they follow Health Canada's recommendations for maximum daily caffeine intake. The authorized concentration for non-cola beverages is lower than the maximum of 200 ppm authorized under the Food and Drug Regulations for cola beverages. The current prohibition against adding synthetic caffeine to other foods remains in place.
Health Canada encourages Canadians to monitor their daily caffeine intakes to avoid elevated levels of consumption. To help them with this goal, Health Canada is urging manufacturers to voluntarily identify on product labels the total caffeine contained in a product from both natural ingredients such as guarana and from direct addition as a food additive. Health Canada is also asking industry to go beyond food additive labelling requirements (i.e. mandatory declaration of caffeine in the list of ingredients) and identify the presence of caffeine on the front of package labelling of newly caffeinated beverage formulations. The front of packaging labelling will help consumers to clearly identify those products whose formulations now contain caffeine.
Canadians should follow a balanced diet including a variety of foods according to Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide. The Food Guide recommends that Canadians drink water as their beverage of choice and look for other healthy beverage options, such as milk, fortified soy beverages or 100 per cent juices. Consumption of other beverages, including soft drinks, should be limited.
The expanded use of caffeine in soft drinks will be authorized through an Interim Marketing Authorization (IMA), which will allow manufacturers to begin selling products while the regulatory changes are being drafted. Similar levels of caffeine are currently allowed in non-cola soft drinks in many other jurisdictions, including the United States and Europe.
For more information on caffeine, please visit:
Health Canada's webpage on Caffeine in Foods
Health Canada's Information Update on Caffeine Consumption
It's Your Health Article on Caffeine
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health