Energy shots containing ingredients such as caffeine and taurine should be banned because consumers cannot be trusted not to drink too many of them, according to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).
In a 14-page report the BfR, which is an advisory body to the German government, said energy shots containing such ingredients were safe if people followed manufacturers' advice to drink no more than one energy shot per day. But it added that there was no way of ensuring they would do so, and therefore the products should be deemed unsafe to health.
The BfR said it was particularly concerned that consumers in certain environments — such as night clubs — might use energy shots in a similar manner to energy drinks, leading to high consumption levels.
"In BfR's opinion, energy shots pose no health risk if consumed in accordance with the manufacturer's intended use, ie, one portion per day," the institute said in the report. "According to the opinion of BfR it is likely that consumers will not always adhere to a use in accordance with the manufacturer's advice.
"In light of these circumstances and potentially high caffeine intake levels resulting from considerably exceeded intakes with potentially adverse effects, BfR assesses the above mentioned energy shot products as unsafe. Such consumer behaviour (considerably excessive intake) cannot be avoided by manufacturer's advice for intended use. BfR thus recommends that energy shots are prohibited from being placed on the market."