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Now Asda and Aldi ban sale of energy drinks to under-16s: Supermarkets follow Waitrose in stopping sales over concerns they fuel unruly behaviour

  • New evidence reveals that high consumption fuels unruly and risky behaviour 
  • Jamie Oliver called on the government to ban sales of energy drinks to children
  • Research suggests that 69 per cent of adolescents drink energy drinks 

Asda and Aldi have joined Waitrose in banning the sale of high caffeine energy drinks to under 16s.

The move comes amid evidence that high consumption of the drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster, is fuelling unruly and risky behaviour.

It has even been suggested that regulator consumption is a gateway to drug use, smoking and alcohol abuse.

Asda and Aldi have joined Waitrose in banning the sale of high caffeine energy drinks to childer under 16

Asda and Aldi have joined Waitrose in banning the sale of high caffeine energy drinks to childer under 16

Child food health campaigner, Jamie Oliver, and teachers have been calling for the Government to impose a legal ban on the sale of the drinks to children.

Chief customer officer at Asda, Andrew Murray, said: ‘We take our responsibilities as a retailer seriously and work hard to ensure we get the balance right between offering choice and doing the right thing.

‘We have listened to our customers and want to take a leading position in this area to support parents and teachers in limiting young peoples’ access to high caffeine drinks.’

Aldi’s Oliver King said: ‘We are introducing this age restriction in response to growing concern about the consumption of energy drinks among young people.’

Energy drinks with high caffeine levels carry a label stating they are ‘not recommended for children’, yet research suggests 69per cent of adolescents and 24per cent of children under 10 are drinking them.

Jamie Oliver had joined with school teachers and called on the government to ban sales of energy drinks to children

Jamie Oliver had joined with school teachers and called on the government to ban sales of energy drinks to children

Teachers say there are enormous difficulties in teaching children high on caffeine. Some say they have even had to devise back-up lesson plans, depending on whether the kids are on a ‘high’ or ‘crashing’.

Dr Amelia Lake, Associate Director of Fuse: the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, at Teesside University said: ‘Our review of the evidence has clearly shown these energy drinks are harmful for under 18s.

‘Their consumption is associated with a range of negative effects and unhealthy behaviours, including physical health complaints, such as headaches, palpitations and insomnia, and higher rates of alcohol, smoking and drug use.’

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union, said: ‘Schools do all they can to provide an environment conducive to learning, but they can’t control what’s on sale beyond the school gates.

‘If the Government is serious about protecting children, it needs to put their interests before the profits of the energy drinks industry and ban the sale of these harmful products to under 16s.’

The British Soft Drinks Association insisted energy drinks are marketed to children.

Its director general, Gavin Partington, said: ‘Energy drinks and their ingredients have been deemed safe by regulatory authorities around the world.

‘In 2010 we introduced a voluntary Code of Practice to support parents and consumers who want to make informed choices. In 2015 this was updated to include more stringent guidelines around marketing and promoting, including reference to in and around schools.

‘Energy drinks are not marketed or promoted to under 16s and all beverages carry an advisory note stating: Not recommended to children.

‘Energy drink manufacturers have taken all possible steps to be clear about the suitability of energy drinks. Retailers, schools and parents all have a role to play in educating children about caffeine and sugar consumption from all sources.’

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Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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