MPs will investigate energy drink consumption by young people after a study found UK teenagers were consuming more than their European counterparts.
One of the questions the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry will look at is whether a voluntary ban on sales of energy drinks to under-16s by major supermarkets should be extended to convenience stores.
A study by the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health found young people in the UK consumed more energy drinks than those in other European countries, and that UK consumption rose by 185% from 2006 to 2015.
A report by the European Food Safety Authority found that 68% of those aged 10 to 18, and 18% of those aged three to 10, were consumers of energy drinks.
Norman Lamb MP, chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said: “We know that young people in the UK are the biggest consumers of energy drinks in Europe for their age. We need to understand how the caffeine and sugar in energy drinks might cause negative health outcomes. Meanwhile, some retailers have chosen to ban their sale, and some have not.
“Should it be for retailers to decide which products can be sold on health grounds? Our inquiry will consider the evidence and set out what needs to be done by the government, the industry and others.”
EFSA estimates that an adult can consume up to 200mg of caffeine without adverse health effects. A Durham University study has highlighted that for children, EFSA’s guideline limit is exceeded by a single can of some energy drinks.