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Harper Government Announces New Measures to Support Families - New Approach on Energy Drinks

October 6, 2011
For immediate release

Backgrounder: Information for Parents on Caffeine in Energy Drinks

OTTAWA - The Harper Government today announced new measures that will provide consumers with more information about energy drinks, to help ensure Canadian families make informed choices when it comes to these popular beverages.

"As a parent, I need to have access to as much information as possible, to help us as a family make good decisions when it comes to what we eat and drink", said Minister Aglukkaq. "I believe today's changes will be especially helpful to the parents of teenagers who regularly consume energy drinks."

The new measures will help Canadians make informed decisions about these products, reducing the chances of over consumption of caffeine and other ingredients such as vitamins. They will also make it easier for parents to monitor the caffeine intake of their children and teens.

"One of the best things about Canada is that we have choices. But to make informed choices, we as parents and Canadians need to have useful information", said Chris Alexander, Member of Parliament for Ajax-Pickering. "With today's announcement, we are giving Canadians the tools and the information they need to make their own choices, for themselves, and for their families."

Until now, energy drinks were classified as a Natural Health Product (NHP), as a result, were not required to put a nutrition facts table on their products. After this change, most energy drinks will be classified in legal terms as a food, as they are in other countries like the United States and Europe. This means that the nutrition facts table will be on every can, and inspection powers will rest with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Under the new measures, Heath Canada would also require:

  • Limit the amount of caffeine that can be included in an energy drink to 180 mg in a single serving (equivalent to approximately what can be found in a medium coffee)
  • In addition to current labels that identify groups for whom high levels of caffeine are not recommended (children, pregnant/breastfeeding women), labels would indicate the levels of caffeine in the product;
  • Requirements to include ingredient, nutrition and allergen declaration, as with all other foods;
  • Ensure that types and levels of vitamins and minerals are within safe levels
  • Warning statement advising not to mix with alcohol

Energy drink makers would also be required to report to Health Canada any consumer health complaints associated with their products. They would also be required to submit to Health Canada more detailed information on consumption and sales of energy drinks. This information will help the Department monitor if additional safety requirements are needed.

"I firmly believe that it's up to individuals and parents to make their own decisions when it comes to what they eat and drink," concluded Minister Aglukkaq. "Today's announcement will ensure that parents have the information to make the best choice for themselves and their families."

Health Canada will be working with industry over the next six months to coordinate this transition. It is expected that products would meet the new requirements within the next 18 to 24 months.

More Resources:

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announces new measures that will provide consumers with more information about energy drinks, to help ensure Canadian families make informed choices when it comes to these popular beverages.

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