October 6, 2011
Check Against Delivery
Good morning everyone,
I'm pleased that so many of you could attend this announcement and a special thank you to Suzie Pellerin for joining us today.
At university campuses like this one, energy drinks are becoming more and more popular. Students looking for a boost of energy crack open a can in the hopes that they can pull an all-nighter.
And their popularity is growing not just at universities; it's growing in schoolyards across the country. Teens and even some children are consuming energy drinks. And like many of us when we were younger, they aren't giving a lot of thought to what it's made of.
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. I believe today's changes will be especially helpful to the parents of teenagers who regularly consume energy drinks
I'm pleased to be here to talk to you about what our Government is doing to help Canadians make informed choices when it comes to energy drinks.
Until now, energy drinks have been considered Natural Health Products. However, as energy drinks have become more popular, it's clear that Canadians see these products as regular beverages. They're sold next to foods, and people consume them as foods.
That's why we are now proposing to manage these products as foods. That means that energy drink labels would have to display the same kind of nutritional and ingredient information as we find on food packaging in cafeterias like this one.
Because energy drinks will be considered foods, Health Canada will set a maximum level of caffeine for these products. And we're planning on going an extra step, by requiring the total amount of caffeine to be clearly printed on the label, so that everyone can understand what they're drinking.
We will also set limits on other ingredients, including vitamins and minerals.
Canadians will also be able to look for clear warnings on the label. These include labels warning consumers not to mix energy drinks with alcohol, as well as labels advising specific higher-risk groups, like children and pregnant women, not to drink these products.
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. That's why our focus is on giving people the information they need to make good decisions.
These are important changes, and we recognize the need for energy-drink manufacturers and importers to adjust. That is why any changes to labelling and ingredients of energy drinks will be phased-in over time.
These new measures will help Canadians make informed decisions, and give them the tools they need to make healthier choices - for themselves, and for their children.