Media Release
27 March 2013

Proposed WA energy drink ban in bars a knee jerk reaction lacking evidence

The Australian Beverages Council, representing the Australian energy drink industry, has criticized a proposed ban on the sale of energy drinks in bars and clubs in WA as being a knee jerk reaction that lacks any substance.

“While the industry supports evidence-based measures to curb anti-social behavior and regulations to prevent intoxication, blaming a soft drink that contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of instant coffee (80mg) as being somehow implicated in contributing to problems with late night revelers is absurd” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

“Energy drink sales in licensed venues represent less than 1% of an average bar’s takings. The non-alcoholic beverages industry would contend it’s the other 99% of sales, the majority of which are beer, wine and spirits, that causes problems particularly when combined with the ‘idiot factor’ of a small percentage of patrons. It’s not the mixer that’s the problem.
“In the last year a number of leading global authorities like the UK Government’s Committee on Toxicology and the European Food Safety Authority concluded that the scientific evidence does not support a harmful toxicological or behavioural interaction between caffeine and alcohol. Furthermore, a 2013 survey of over 1,200 Australians aged between 18-34 revealed that only 10% of people drink energy drinks on a night out and not all were mixed with alcohol. We call on the WA authorities to look at real cause of the problem and don’t blame the mixer” Mr Parker concluded.

ENERGY DRINK FACTS

• A recent study of over 6,000 Dutch students comparing those that consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks versus those that drank alcohol alone, provides scientific evidence that mixing energy drinks with alcohol does not increase overall alcohol consumption and/or alcohol-related consequences. In fact, the study revealed that those that mix energy drinks with alcohol, consumer less alcohol compared to those who drank alcohol alone (de Haan L, de Haan HA, Olivier B, Verster JC, Alcohol mixed with energy drinks: methodology and design of the Utrecht Student Survey, International Journal of General Medicine, 2012: 5 889–898).

• Food Standard 2.6.4 (Formulated Caffeinated Beverages) of the Australian and New Zealand Food Standard Code is the regulatory standard that governs the content and mandatory advisory statements for energy drinks.

• Food Standard 2.6.4. limits the amount of caffeine in a 250mL energy drink to 80 mg – the equivalent of a cup of coffee.

For more information contact: Geoff Parker, CEO – 0407 646 195