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Food Additives

An assessment of potential adverse health effects as a result of the consumption of energy drinks by children and adolescents

Report no:

Ordered: 25.09.2018

Publishing: 01.02.2019

Key message:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) shall assess whether the consumption of energy drinks among children and adolescents between nine and 18 years may have adverse health effects.

 

The assessment is a carried on request from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA).

VKM has prepared a protocol to describe the methodology to be used for assessing risk.

Download the protocol.PDF

The assignment

NFSA requests VKM to:

  • assess potential adverse health effects of a) chronic mean consumption, b) chronic high consumption, and c) acute high consumption of energy drinks and caffeine among children and adolescents
  • perform various scenario calculations pertaining to the caffeine content in energy drinks equivalent to 15 mg caffeine/100 ml, 32 mg caffeine/100 ml, 40 mg caffeine/100 ml, and 55 mg caffeine/100 ml
  • assess potential health risks associated with the (simultaneous) consumption of energy drinks and alcohol
  • assess potential health risks associated with the consumption of energy drinks in conjunction with physical activity and in relation to dehydration.

In addition, the total intakeofcaffeine from the diet, that is, from coffee and tea drinks, chocolatemilk, cocoa, etc. shuldalso be assessed.

Definition of an energy drink (from the NFSA)

The following definition of an energy drink applies to this request:

“Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages that contain at least 150 mg of caffeine (from all sources) per litre, or at least 150 mg of caffeine (from all sources) per litre together with one or more additional substances or plant extracts such as glucuronolactone, inositol, guarana alkaloids, ginseng, ginkgo extract, and taurine. They may also include added vitamins, minerals and/or amino acids. The definition extends to energy drinks sweetened with sugar, or artificial sweetener, or both sugar and artificial sweetener.”

Beverages based on coffee, tea, or coffee or tea extracts, where the name of the food includes the term “coffee” or “tea”, are not covered by this definition of energy drinks. See Regulation on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers, Annex III.

Background for the assignment

The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services has asked the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to investigate and recommend measures to protect children and adolescents from adverse health effects caused by a high consumption of energy drinks.

Support material for the study includes knowledge of the potential health risks and data pertaining to consumption among children and adolescents in Norway.

Deadline

The panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics is responsible for the assessment. It will be published on 1 February 2019.




Contact

Gro Mathisen

Project manager, PhD

T: +47 21 62 28 06
Send e-mail

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no

 

P.O. box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

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