FSA reviews caffeine labelling
rules that will alert consumers to high levels of caffeine in some
The UK's Food Standards Agency is seeking views on new labelling rules that will alert consumers to high levels of caffeine in some drinks.
Drinks containing caffeine in excess of 150 milligrams (mg) per litre, such as some energy drinks, will have to carry the declaration, 'High caffeine content', together with the amount of caffeine expressed in mg per 100 millilitres (ml). To ensure the message is seen by consumers, the declaration will have to be placed in the same line of vision as the name of the food.
The changes to the labelling rules for food containing caffeine, and quinine, were agreed in Brussels on 22 February 2002, and the consultation document for England is being published today.
The European regulations will not affect normal cola drinks because they contain less than 150mg of caffeine per litre. Labels for tea, coffee and coffee-based drinks will not change either, as long as the name of the drink makes clear it has been made from tea of coffee.
The rules also state that caffeine and quinine should be declared in ingredient lists when used as a flavouring in any food. Currently the legislation requires only the term 'flavouring', although many manufacturers voluntarily indicate when caffeine or quinine has been added, said FSA.
The new rules must come into effect by 1 July 2004.