Drop the ‘energy’, Punjab tells Red Bull and its rivals

May 4, 2018

Cans of Red Bull and similar drinks made by other manufacturers can use the word ‘stimulant’ in place of ‘energy’, the Punjab Food Authority has said. Photo: Courtesy The Guardian

Punjab has ordered Red Bull and other energy-drink manufacturers to drop the ‘energy’ tag from their labels, reported the Guardian.

A scientific advisory panel of the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) said the large quantities of caffeine, taurine and guarana in energy-drinks simply stimulate the swift release of existing reserves instead of providing any nutritional energy to the body. It is misleading and encourages people to consume the products in potentially dangerous quantities, said the food authority.

The order comes at a time when there is an international regulatory pushback against the highly caffeinated fizzy drink market. It is believed to be the first in the world to censor the term ‘energy’, which is a key part of the drinks’ appeal.

“In TV commercials [drinkers] throw huge tires, they keep running and running,” the PFA’s director, Noorul Amin Mengal, told the Guardian. “These adverts are misleading our illiterate population.”

Pakistan has one of the highest rates of heart disease worldwide. A 2017 study showed energy drinks also increase blood pressure five times more than an equivalent amount of caffeine drunk in coffee.

Energy drink manufacturers have until the end of the year to replace the word ‘energy’ with ‘stimulant’ on their labels. The PFA also ordered them to add a series of warnings in Urdu against consumption by pregnant women and children under the age of 12. It further told them to limit the caffeine content to 200 parts per million in each can, which is nearly half the amount that Red Bull currently contains.

Most manufacturers have agreed to comply with the new regulations, the PFA said.

A spokesperson for Red Bull said: “As a responsible international company, Red Bull complies with all relevant laws affecting its product in each of the 170 countries across the world in which it is on sale.”

This article originally appeared here


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