Energy code steers clear of alcohol links
Published:  19 March, 2010

A code of practice on the sale of energy drinks will stop short of asking retailers to stop merchandising brands alongside spirits and other alcohol.

Alcohol campaigners have expressed concern – particularly in Scotland – that the combined effects of alcohol and caffeine contribute to antisocial behaviour and crime.

But the code, to be published by the British Soft Drinks Association at the end of this month, will focus on labelling, marketing and sales to children. It will advise that energy drinks shouldn’t be advertised, marketed or promoted to under-16s.

A warning that energy drinks are “not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine” will appear on cans. The code will not include advice on the recent spate of energy shot drinks, which are covered by food supplement legislation.

But the code will not be backed by market-leading brand Red Bull which is not a BSDA member.

Red Bull said it was involved in the formulation of a European-wide code under UNESDA, the pan-European group of national soft drinks associations.

A Red Bull spokesman said: “We are actively engaged in the development of a European code of practice for the labelling and marketing of energy drinks. We’re confident the BSDA will align its code with the European one once finalised.”?Richard Laming, public affairs manager of the BSDA, said: “We’ve discussed the code with Red Bull and hope it’ll back it so we can achieve some consistency.

“Any European code could be in addition or an alternative but we really wanted to get something in place.”?Laming said discussions were ongoing with the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores about the wording of the code elements that relate to retailers.

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