FSSAI orders energy drinks to comply to regulations

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India’s food regulator is gearing up to impose a limit on caffeine contained in energy drinks. From July 1, manufacturers will be compelled to comply with FSSAI regulations, according to a notification published last week.

Non-alcoholic beverages with more than 145mg of caffeine per litre will be labelled as “caffeinated beverage”. The caffeine content in these beverages should not be greater than 300mg per litre irrespective of the source of the caffeine, the notification said. This limit is lower than the 320mg initially suggested by the regulator.

This is a category contested by brands such as Red Bull, Tzinga, Cloud 9 and Monster, which will from next year be forced to make certain disclosures, including their caffeine content, on labels.

Most carbonated beverages, including colas, will not fall in the category unless the caffeine content crosses 145mg per litre.

The regulator has also set out the permitted quantities of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 that can be added to beverages.

In respect of ingredients, flavours, sweeteners, food additives, contaminants and microbiological requirement the product shall conform to the standards for carbonated water,” the FSSAI said.

The FSSAI also made it mandatory for brands to prominently display a cautionary note for drinks containing caffeine, saying: “Not recommended for children, pregnant and lactating women, persons sensitive to caffeine.”

In 2015, the FSSAI banned variants of Monster energy drink and ordered the recall of Restless Energy Drink, sold by Pune-based Pushpam Foods and Beverages. It also banned some Cloud 9 lines and Tzinga for compliance issues.

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