Primary Industries minister Ian Macdonald ordered the tests amid revelations that children had suffered serious side effects, including dizziness, nausea and heart palpitations after consuming ‘shots’ of a high-caffeine energy drink on the way to school.
Year 7 students who bought 60ml bottles of one particular drink from a service station had to be treated in the school sick bay before being sent home. One passed out while another claimed “the walls were moving”.
Macdonald yesterday threatened to seize the worst products and warned suppliers that they faced prosecution: “I’m concerned by the anecdotal reports of young people being adversely affected by these products,” he said. “The government is taking immediate action on this matter. I have asked the NSW Food Authority to contact all those manufacturers and/or distributors to ensure their drinks comply with the legal limits for caffeine.”
Five of the eight drinks exceeding the legal limit by more than 30% have already been taken off the shelves, including Fuel Cell and Cintron varieties. Those still on the shelves are Red Eye Platinum and Smart Energy Blood Orange & Chilli and Citrus. Last month, it was revealed a legal loophole was allowing some energy drinks with high levels of caffeine to be sold to children.
Some drink manufacturers are bypassing food regulations by registering products with the Therapeutic Goods Administration despite them containing unlawfully high caffeine levels.
The state government has moved to stop energy drinks being classed as a medicine or a dietary supplement.
“The Food Authority will do further testing of energy drinks,” Macdonald said.
Source: The Australian
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