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Waitrose to become first UK supermarket to ban energy drinks for under 16s

The move will come into effect from 5 March on energy drinks with over 150mg per litre of caffeine in them

Shafi Musaddique
Thursday 04 January 2018 15:12 GMT
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Anyone who has bought a bar of the affected chocolate should not eat it and return it to the store from where it was bought for a full refund
Anyone who has bought a bar of the affected chocolate should not eat it and return it to the store from where it was bought for a full refund (Getty)

Waitrose has become the first major UK supermarket to ban anyone under the age of 16 from buying high energy drinks from its stores.

The move will come into effect from 5 March on energy drinks with over 150mg per litre of caffeine in them. Those above the age limit will need to provide proof of age in order to be able to buy.

Already, soft drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster Energy, with more than 150 mg of caffeine per litre must be labelled as ‘not recommended for children’ under EU law.

“As a responsible retailer we want to sell these products in line with the labelling guidance”, said Simon Moore, Waitrose director of technical and corporate social responsibility.

“These drinks carry advice stating that they are not recommended for children, so we’re choosing to proactively act on that guidance, particularly given the widespread concerns which have been raised about these drinks when consumed by under 16s,” he added.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) welcomed the decision on Thursday and called for raising awareness of the adverse effect of energy drinks on children’s health.

“Waitrose has taken a positive and responsible step which hopefully not only other supermarkets will follow, but which will also encourage the Government to produce national guidelines on recommended consumption levels of caffeine for children”, said NASUWT general secretary Chris Keats.

“These drinks are readily available legal highs and are leading to children and young people consuming high levels of stimulants, with little known about the long-term health impacts”, he said.

“Teachers are left to deal with the effects these stimulants have on pupil behaviour.”

The same teachers union already called for a ban on the sale of highly caffeinated drinks to children in December.

The Food Standards Agency warns that small cans of energy drinks can contain levels of caffeine equivalent to what is in three cans of cola.

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