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Boylan welcomes common-sense rejection of energy drink health claims

7 July, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has today welcomed the result of a vote in the European Parliament which saw MEPs block the European Commission’s attempts to allow health claims on energy drinks but has questioned Fine Gael’s stance on nutrient profiles.

Ms Boylan said:

“Growth in the energy drinks industry has boomed. In Ireland, the number of energy drink products on the market has quadrupled since 2002 and kids and adolescents are big consumers.

“Not only do these products contain high levels of caffeine but the amount of sugar contained within just one serving can be staggering with some brands containing up to 16 teaspoons of sugar per can.

“At a time of rising levels of obesity and diabetes, it is bewildering that the European Commission should consider it appropriate to try and permit the use of health claims on these clearly unhealthy drink products.

“If these health claims regarding endurance, alertness and performance had been allowed it could understandably have encouraged further consumption by kids and teenagers thinking that it would help performance on the pitch and concentration in the classroom.

“If the Commission had done its job in the first place and brought in ‘nutrient profiling’ by 2009 as it was supposed to have done this bizarre situation wouldn’t even have arisen. Nutrient profiling is a mechanism which would disallow any health or nutritional claims on foods or drinks which are generally unhealthy.

“It is disappointing to see that Fine Gael have once again put industry profit margins ahead of children's health and voted against amendments I had submitted which called on the Commission to immediately come forward with nutrient profiles and to take quantities of sugar in foods into account in the process.

“It is essential that they now justify their reasons for doing so.” 

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