Compiled by Graeme McNaughton
The Toronto Board of Health is setting its sights on a new target: energy drinks.
In a motion to be tabled today, the board will be asking the federal and provincial governments to take more action on regulating energy drinks and highly caffeinated alcoholic drinks, including regulating the advertising and promotion of energy drinks and the implementation of warning labels.
Ward 14 councillor and Toronto Drug Strategy Implementation panel chair Gord Perks is championing the motion.
“The consumption of these beverages has become normalized in our society and action is needed to prevent further harm,” said Perks in a letter to the Toronto Board of Health.
Perks said action is needed especially for children and youth. Perks cited a John Hopkins University study which found children who consume energy drinks are more likely to experience behavioural and physiological effects from the high caffeine content.
The measure has been opposed by the Canadian Beverage Association, a trade association representing over 60 non-alcoholic beverage brands in Canada, saying the industry and current regulations are already doing enough.
“The CBA believes that energy drinks can be a part of a balanced lifestyle if consumed in accordance with the recommended guidelines on the label and as regulated by Health Canada,” said Jim Goetz, the president of the Canadian Beverage Association, in a letter to the Toronto Board of Health.
“The CBA and its members firmly advise consumers to consume energy drinks in moderation and as directed on the container. All our members’ container labels clearly state that these beverages are not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or individuals who are sensitive to caffeine.”
Under current Health Canada regulations, energy drinks are classified as food, meaning all ingredients and nutritional information must be printed on the label.