LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) on Tuesday warned all energy drink manufacturers to use new labels for their product as per the authority’s directions.
The authority has sent notices to the companies to rectify labelling of their products within eight months otherwise strict action will be taken on violation. The notice, available with Dawn, states that the PFA scientific panel had given eight months to the beverage industry to change the word “energy” on labels of their products, and instead say “stimulant”.
The instructions to beverage firms included mentioning “highly caffeinated drink” on the products, that the drinks were not suitable for pregnant women and children less than 12 years of age. The caffeine quantity should not exceed 200 mililitre and companies should avoid using pharmaceutical ingredients during preparation of the beverages. The panel directed the companies to mention these instructions on the products in Urdu and English languages and also get a halal certificate for them.
The authority would take strict action against violators as per relevant provisions of PFA Act 2011 after Dec 31.
Sources in the PFA said people were using energy drinks without knowledge of their adverse effects on human health. This step was taken on the recommendations of the PFA scientific panel and it had recommended a new labelling regime on the basis of empirical data and social context. The so-called energy drinks were found hazardous for people suffering from high blood pressure.
He said the beverage companies were directed to decrease the level of caffeine in their drinks to 200ml.
The PFA had restricted sale of all kinds of caffeinated and cola drinks in schools a year ago and other recommendations were given to ban sale of energy drinks to underage children.
Sources said that manufacturers of soft, carbonated and energy drinks had approached Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to intervene and stop the authority from banning drinks in schools and colleges. But the chief minister had directed the PFA director general to continue with the ban.
Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2018