Energy drinks with dangerously high levels of caffeine are being sold to children because of a loophole in Australian law, the NSW government says.

Five Year 7 students from Quakers Hill, in Sydney’s west, reportedly suffered side effects including dizziness and nausea after consuming the drinks on their way to school on Wednesday.

Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said on Thursday it was stories like this that had prompted the government to look at how it could go about taking the drinks off the shelves.

“Some of these shots have between 12 and 15 times the level of caffeine permitted under the food standards code,” he told Fairfax Radio Network.

“Clearly these are issues that we really need to deal with, particularly as there’s lots of anecdotal evidence, at least, that these drinks can have quite a deleterious effect on young people.”

Mr Macdonald said some drinks could not be banned by the state government because they were registered as dietary supplements with the federal Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

He said he would talk to the TGA about getting some of the drinks deregistered.

“If they are deregistered by the TGA, then I can take those drinks off the market,” he said.

Some other drinks were registered as dietary supplements in New Zealand, an issue he would take up at a trans-Tasman food standards meeting in October.

Mr Macdonald urged parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drinking too much caffeine.

“Parental guidance on this one is important,” he said.

 “But if we can get them off the market, we will.”

 

By FoodWeek Online

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