MPs support action to reduce energy drink consumption among children

The Science and Technology Committee has carried out an inquiry into the effects of energy drinks on children after research showed that young people in the UK are the biggest consumers of energy drinks in Europe for their age group. They sought to understand whether the caffeine in energy drinks had a negative health and behavioural effect on young people and if the sale of energy drinks to under 16s should be banned.

Based on the current scientific evidence available, the Science and Technology Committee concluded that there is not enough quantitative evidence to justify a statutory ban on the sale of energy drinks to children. However, they welcomed any voluntary action taken by schools, retailers and local communities that could reduce energy drink consumption among children, including exclusion zones; acknowledged that the current voluntary ban implemented by a number of retailers amplifies the message that energy drinks are associated with negative health, behavioural and dietary effects; and recognised that it might be legitimate for the Government to implement a statutory ban based on societal concerns and qualitative evidence, such as the experience of school teachers.

The Committee also recommended that there should be more prominent advisory notices on energy drinks packaging.