Food Additives and Cosmetics

New information on ingredients in "energy drinks" – updated risk assessment


Report no:

Published: 11.05.2009

Main message:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) endorses EFSA’s conclusion that exposure to the ingredients taurine and D-glucurono-y-lactone through a regular consumption of "energy drinks" is not of safety concern.

However, it should be emphasised that EFSA has not evaluated the safety of "energy drinks" as such, but two ingredients that are frequently used in these products.

VKM further concludes that the risk of adverse effects to caffeine from ”energy drinks” is highest for adolescents. The highest risk is anticipated to be connected to acute consumption of “energy drinks”.

The VKM Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food and Cosmetics has, on a request from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, assessed how the new information on taurine and D-glucurono-y-lactone and the conclusions presented in the EFSA opinion from 2009 influence the conclusions of the VKM opinion from 2005 ( 04/701), which concerned “energy drinks” as such.

Based on Norwegian exposure levels, VKM evaluated "energy drinks" with caffeine, taurine, D-glucurono-y-lactone, inositol and vitamins in 2005. VKM then concluded the same as EU’s previous scientific committee for food (SCF, now EFSA) did in 2003, that no safe intake levels for taurine and D-glucurono-y-lactone could be established due to lack of data.

VKM was also asked to assess whether the risk of adverse health effects due to caffeine intake among different consumer groups in Norway has changed since the last evaluation in 2005. EFSA’s new opinion does not deal with caffeine.

The risk assessment was published May 11th 2009.


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