India to Propose Regulation of Energy Drinks and Caffeine

India to Propose Regulation of Energy Drinks and Caffeine

India's Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has issued a report stating it believes an "appropriate safety standard for energy drinks" should be developed in India. The agency has proposed, among other details, that such products should be labeled as "caffeinated beverages" and in a manner that discourages use by children and pregnant and lactating women. The agency has invited comments from any interested stakeholders. 


1. Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages containing  caffeine, guarana, glucuronolactone, taurine, ginseng, inositol, carnitine, B-vitamins etc. as main ingredients that act as stimulants. In recent years, a number of different energy drinks have been introduced in the Indian market to provide an energy boost or as dietary supplements. These drinks contain high levels of caffeine which stimulates the nervous system.

2. Energy drinks are heavily marketed to young adults and others and manufacturers compare the effects of the drinks to the use of drugs like cocaine. Many of these drinks are heavily promoted in bars or for use in combination with alcohol, which could further increase the health risk to consumers. There are a number of scientific reports on the adverse consequences of excessive consumption of caffeine. The main sources of caffeine are tea, coffee and soft drinks. In energy drinks, caffeine is added at levels of up to 80 mg per serve. The drinks usually have a number of added water soluble vitamins such as, niacin, pathothenic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 and other substances, such as amino acids. 

3. There are, at present, no Codex Standards for soft  drinks or non-alcoholic carbonated beverages. Several countries have approved  energy drinks as dietary supplements. The health implications of caffeine have also been enquired into by several countries. 

4. Caffeine is added to energy drinks ostensibly to increase mental performance. The detrimental effects of caffeine have been identified by several studies. Moreover, caffeine used in conjunction with alcoholic or other substances of dependence can have additional impact on health. The scientific community has been concerned at the potential access to caffeinated beverages by children and the carry over fortification from caffeine fortified foods to other products. Therefore, products which have caffeine as ingredient are usually prohibited from being used as ingredient in other beverages commonly consumed by children. Pregnant and lactating women are vulnerable groups for whom high consumption of caffeine is not advised. The supply of caffeine from all sources of a normal diet should also be considered while determining the maximum permissible limit.


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