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How should energy drinks be regulated in Canada?

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Consumer Reports says that caffeine levels in energy drinks are often underestimated on the products' labels, with some having more than 20 per cent more caffeine than indicated.

 A Korean student studying in Cape Breton is blaming his outburst on too many Red Bulls. He's been expelled and is likely to be deported. (CP)The American study of 27 products purchased in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York found that 11 of the energy drinks didn't specify how much caffeine they contain.

In Canada, energy drinks are regulated as "natural health products," meaning their caffeine content and recommended dosage must appear on the labels.

However, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced a year ago that energy drinks would soon be classified as "foods," and further requirements would be imposed, such as limiting the maximum concentration of caffeine to 100 mg per 250 ml and setting a maximum concentration of 180 mg of caffeine in any single-serve beverage.

According to the Consumer Reports data, several drinks they tested, such as Full Throttle, 5-hour Energy and NOS, contain more than 210 mg of caffeine per serving.

By comparison, a small Tim Hortons coffee has 80 mg of caffeine [PDF], while  an extra-large cup of Timmies, contains 240 mg of caffeine.

However, an expert panel wanted Health Canada to go even further, regulating energy drinks as "stimulant drug containing drinks," prohibiting their sale to minors, limiting them to being sold only at drug stores and forcing them to contain warnings about adverse reactions, including insomnia and anxiety.

The article from Consumer Reports comes as a Korean student at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia is blaming his outburst at a cafeteria on drinking too many Red Bulls.

How do you think energy drinks should be regulated in Canada? Let us know what you think.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: Community, food & drink, Health

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